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Volpone review at Prince Edward London

Given the world’s current preoccupation with cash and greed, it is a good time to stage Volpone – Ben Jonson’s satire about an avaricious Venetian gentleman who is on a mission to con people out of their riches.

Director Jodi de Souza has made a good effort to abridge the story and deliver it at a punchy pace, without losing its essence, and Archie Whyld’s portrayal of evil Mosca evokes a complex character, as does Nikki Squire’s self-assured Voltore.

However, this production struggles in many ways.

The show fails to bring home the humour in the text, and fails to pull off the more emotional scenes. Naill Costigan does not manage to fulfil the potential for laughs in his portrayal of Volpone pretending to be on his death bed, and Jackson Wright’s Corvino is like a pantomime villain with cartoonish snarls and glares.

The diminutive performance space underneath the Prince Edward pub is too small for the eight-strong cast – they seem to narrowly avoid bumping into each other – and is full of noise from the nearby kitchen and drinkers on the floor above.

Finally, and rather unfortunately, it is difficult to take a production seriously when most of the actors stumble over their lines at some point.

Humble Theatre’s production is not unenjoyable, but it needs a lot of tidying up before it can be called good.

Production Information

Prince Edward, London, April 1-April 23

Author
Ben Jonson
Director
Jodi de Souza
Producer
Humble Theatre
Cast
Naill Costigan, Archie Whyld, Jackson Wright, Stephen Moriaty, Nikki Squire, Jen Holt, Jean Apps, Julian Brown
Running time
1hr 30mins

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