A decrepit theatre company limps into town, on its last legs, to stage a feeble play that no one wants to see in Reza de Wet’s Miracle. Is life imitating art, though, when it comes to the production of it that is being staged in the tiny, unraked basement space of Leicester Square Theatre, a room that instantly goes to the top of the list of London’s least comfortable and most inhospitable fringe spaces?
“Just as I thought - a pigsty,” exclaims Susannah York’s actress Salome as she enters, and she’s not far wrong. She’s unaccountably lost the trunk containing all her costumes en route, but she comes with plenty of baggage. So does the play, which sees her trying to lead a company in a performance of Everyman, in which one of the other actors suddenly dies (she has a lucky escape), and another is visited by the vengeful wife he dumped in favour of the dead actress.
This inflated piece of pretentious claptrap about the meaning and making of theatre comes adorned, in Linnie Reedman’s frequently bizarre production, with three pre-show “circus characters”, who exchange meaningful glances and sing doleful dirges before the show and during the interval.
The best you can say for it is that it sustains the bleak atmosphere with a sense of unassailable commitment. But it’s amazing that the likes of York and Tim Woodward, as the desperate manager of the troupe, have been persuaded to adorn it. Only Rowan Schlosberg, furiously fending off his former wife as Abel, brings a semblance of truth and conviction to any of it.