Review: Theatre Group’s ‘Vindice’

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Vindice is an original play directed by 2nd year student Alexander Curtis, and is inspired by ‘The Revenger’s Tragedy’.  The piece blends theatre with visual aids and media and dance sequences to stunning effect.  This is the most immersed I have been in a student production for a very long time.

Vindice (Cam Bevan) has lost his wife to the corruption of the Metropolitan Police, led by the Duke (Ben George) and his son/right-hand man Lussurioso (Sam Jenkins-Shaw).  With the aid of his brother Hippolito (Jonny Baynham), Vindice sets out to ensure that ‘Revenge is paid her due’.

The piece benefits from an excellent script, also by Mr Curtis, that carefully treads the line between dark comedy and genuine thrills and horror, as well offering an intricate, elegant narrative that never becomes too confusing.  Some characters, however, could have done with some more fleshing out, and plotlines such as that involving Spurio and the Duchess feel, at times, a little redundant.

The cast is uniformly excellent, almost without exception.  Bevan is an engaging lead presence, running the gamut between grieving husband and psychotic murderer with great skill.  Jenkins-Shaw succeeds in eliciting both pity and disgust as the immoral Deputy Commissioner, and Baynham is affecting and world-weary in his role. The supporting cast in general was outstanding, with Amy Fitzgibbon, Mustafa Pathan and Hannah Holliday in particular making the most of some smaller roles.

I must admit I was sceptical when I was told there dance sequences in the production, but the choreography from David Gray and Tom Wilson was first class, complementing the action and narrative perfectly.  Coupled with a fantastic soundtrack and professional-looking projected videos, these sequences utilising other forms of performance really made the piece: refreshing, vibrant and original, and lifting Vindice well above the ordinary.

The piece was somewhat marred by technical errors, but that does not detract from the quality on show on the stage.  I could not recommend the play more highly, and hope to see more from the talented production team and cast in the future.

Words by Sam Everard

‘Revenge shall be paid her due.’ But at what price?

Revenge is a powerful driving force behind actions, but as this original play by Alexander Curtis reveals, the desire to achieve it is not always simple. Set against the dark and corrupt back drop of modern day London, Theatre Group’s latest play, Vindice, is the perfect tale of one man’s desire for retribution.

Events quickly spiral out of control for Vindice, expertly played by Cam Bevan, as he becomes embroiled in the seedy underworld of the corrupt Metropolitan Police. Bevan captures the insane yearning for revenge perfectly, and he is appropriately complemented by the rest of the cast, of whom Ben George, Sam Jenkins-Shaw and Jonny Baynham were particularly notable. The duo of Tom Searle and Alexis Forss was also ideal, although one does wonder how they were able to portray their characters so realistically.

The set was far too simple to convey the complex mix of emotions and different locations, but the lighting was used effectively to help counter this. Scene changes were arduous; it is not entertaining to watch someone walk a chair onto a stage the first time, let alone the twentieth. This broke up the action and stilted the otherwise engrossing plotline. Props were used adequately, and diction was clear throughout, with some impressive accents on display.

The directors Sam Dobson, Alexander Curtis and Joel Jackson, definitely cast a very talented group of people, who showed their talents to excellent effect. A play which no-one should miss.

Words by Kirsty Hough

Photography by Joe Hart

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Editor and MA English student. Follow on Twitter @SamEverard1

Discussion4 Comments

  1. avatar
    Sam Jenkins-Shaw

    This is a lovely dual review.
    Just saying that Tom Wilson is not on the choreography team – the choreography was done by David Gray with Tashan Nicholas and Sarah Moir assisting. (And it’s Jonny Baynham, not Johnny)

    But thanks!

    Sam Everard
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    Sorry for the errors, for choreography team I was working off the programme which lists Tom as one of the two!

    Sam Jenkins-Shaw
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    Fair, thought I’d just make sure the credit went where it’s due.

    Everyone come see VINDICE!

    Alexander Curtis
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    Some of the choreography used in the show was done by Tom Wilson, which is why he is credited.

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