Body 115

Jan Noble
Jack Studio Theatre

Jan Noble in Body 115 Credit: Lidia Crisafulli
Jan Noble in Body 115 Credit: Lidia Crisafulli
Jan Noble in Body 115 Credit: Lidia Crisafulli

It is difficult to know whether it is the imaginative lyricism of Jan Noble’s writing or the commanding force behind his utterly compelling delivery that lingers after seeing Body 115, because they are so firmly conjoined, it is a struggle to imagine them parted.

A time-travelling fantasy, Body 115, a spirit guide, takes a poet escaping from the torrents of rain beyond the confines of the London Underground where he has taken refuge.

As they move through time and space, landmarks are realised through untypical references—Blackfriars not by its medieval friars or Elizabethan theatres but by the murder of a mafioso banker; Dover not by its bluebirds or white cliffs but by the dinghies that meet them there by water.

This elegance of style and erudition washes through every line of Noble’s monologue, no matter that some go over your head, such is the abundance of riches here.

Jack Arnold’s sound and Tom Turner’s lighting evoke noisy spills of rain to single drops, and gloomy cavernous spaces to city streets.

Similarly thoughtful direction by Justin Butcher injects movement but never gratuitously or at risk of detracting or distracting from the text, which reigns supreme in this poetry-made-theatre.

This magical adventure rightly brought Noble rewards, and last year Body 115 won him the London Pub Theatre Award for Best Innovative Play and an Offie Commendation.

It is our good fortune that it can still be enjoyed with the next performance in September in London.

Reviewer: Sandra Giorgetti

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