Review: Intra Muros, at Park Theatre
11 April, 2019 — By Michael Stewart
Ché Walker and Summer Strallen in Intra Muros. Photo: Edward Johnson
INTRA muros is Spanish for “within the walls”. The walls in question are those of a maximum security prison in Norwich for the toughest of criminals. Richard, (Ché Walker) a vain, shambolic theatre director and his ex-wife Jane (Emma Pallant) are there to teach a drama class to the inmates. But only two show up: Kevin (Declan Perring), a harum-scarum hothead and the older rock-like Angel (Victor Gardener), whose dour silence seems to hide a world of secrets. Chucking medicine balls about in play school fashion does not cut it for these bad boys.
It’s only when Richard suggests swapping identities that things take off and we are launched into a Pandora’s box world of fear, violence and terrible revelations.
Alexis Michalik’s play is pure metatheatre; it not only breaks the fourth wall, but the fourth dimension too and even strolls into multiverse territory (the “scientific” theory that parallel worlds exist to ours and there are many versions of ourselves).
Richard is not only the cons’ director but the actual director of this play. He interrogates the audience on their definition of drama, and the actors’ characters are fluid and interchangeable, weaving in and out of each other’s back stories like shape-shifters.
Although Intra Muros ends in a dark place the first half hour is full of wit and fun. Richard reveals to Alice (Summer Strallen) that he is a graduate of Nada, the Norwich Academy of Dramatic Art (nada being Spanish for nothing).
Intra Muros has some of the best ensemble acting I’ve seen for ages.
Until May 4
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