Matthew Lenton, based on L’Interieur by Maurice Maeterlinck
Royal Lyceum Theatre
Vanishing Point’s interpretation of Maurice Maeterlinck’s unusual expressionist play from 1895 has been seen before, inter alia at the Traverse and Lyric, Hammersmith. Even so, this revival alongside The Destroyed Room is worth catching. All characters are named for their actors.
On the surface, the audience appears to have been enlisted to act as voyeurs watching a party through the dining room window.
We are somewhere in the polar regions on the longest night of the year, with polar bears so threatening that some guests arrive with artillery.
In the early stages, Peter (Kelly) and his granddaughter Ruby (Richardson) silently prepare for their guests.
They duly arrive and represent a typical, if overly-sensitive, bunch, not that anything is overly obvious, since the windows are sound-proofed and hence the effect is of mime.
This is fun but slowly the elephant outside the room, a ghostly voice over in the form of Elicia Dale, is introduced.
She has a wry sense of humour and is helped to get laughs by the behaviour of the diners. Romances are hoped for, made and broken.
Blood flows as does alcohol, there is a magical dance routine to Buggles’s "Video Killed the Radio Star", which ends in a marriage proposal and much more, particularly as unintended offence is given.
Much of the fun derives from the commentary from Miss Dale, who eventually appears in the pale flesh.
Interiors may sound like a fuss about nothing but it is a beautifully observed nothing with heart as well as humour and considerable pathos.
Reviewer: Philip Fisher