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Wolves at the Window review at Arcola London

At first, Toby Davies’ new play feels like something of an odd prospect. In Wolves at the Window, he weaves together a number of the short stories of Saki, including some of the satirical writer’s best known works – Tobermory, The Open Window and The Interlopers.

He is clearly in thrall to his source material and allows the full black bite of Saki’s humour to come through. It’s a difficult trick, turning something so inherently bitty into a satisfying whole, but, though it takes some time to find its feet, the production manages it rather well. It does so by creating its own distinctive world in which it is possible to slide smoothly from one story to the next without it proving too jarring.

The four-man cast do an excellent job, hopping between numerous roles, including children, Latin spouting goats and, in Gus Brown’s case, a talking cat. And, though Thomas Hescott’s inevitably episodic production is rather on the long side, it increases in atmosphere considerably as it goes on – the second half is far less patchy than the first and also manages to hint at a world on the brink of great change, of dark things to come.

Production Information

Arcola, London, May 27-June 21

Author
Toby Davies, after Saki
Director
Thomas Hescott
Producer
Fledgling
Cast includes
Gus Brown, Jeremy Booth, Anna Francolini, Sarah Moyle
Running time
2hrs 25mins
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