Mini-review from London–THE WITNESS

by Lynn on June 28, 2012

in The Passionate Playgoer

At the Royal Court Upstairs. Written by Vivienne Franzmann. Directed by Simon Godwin. Designed by Lizzie Clachan. Lighting by Oliver Fenwick. Sound by Carolyn Downing. Starring: David Ajala, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Danny Webb.

A terrific play about the responsibility of the witness. THE WITNESS has echoes of THE OVERWHELMING, about the Rwanda genocide, and of TIME STANDS STILL, in which a photojournalist risks everything to get the perfect photo without thinking about the implications or the responsibility to the subject of the photo.

Joseph is a photographer who photographed the various wars around the world. He was celebrated for his photos. In Rwanda he saw the worst. He photographed a group of slaughtered people and found a little girl beside her dead mother. He took her back to England and he and his wife adopted her and gave her a wonderful life. But the now grown woman has questions of who she is and what really happened. Her father is reluctant to tell her the truth.

Danny Webb plays Joseph in a rather overdone style. Pippa Bennett-Warner is a fire-cracker of a young actress who burns up the stage with her freshness, intensity and focus. Fabulous work. A really interesting, unsettling play.

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