Count Oederland

3 out of 5 stars
THEATRE_CountOederland_Credit_Press2011.jpg
Count Oederland

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

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This surreal satire from Swiss playwright Max Frisch has had to wait a full 50 years for its UK premiere. One imagines Frisch didn’t quite expect his play – which has around 25 named parts – to make its London debut in an Irish pub in Kennington, but credit to Cerberus Theatre and director Christopher Loscher: his production makes a very fair fist of ‘Count Oederland’. The hearty cast of 11 helps, as does designer Mike Lees’s disorientatingly angled white stage set.

Obsessed by the case of a man (Christopher Birks) who has committed a seemingly motiveless killing, the chief prosecutor (Neil Sheppeck) of a nameless, dull country has a breakdown, first forgetting his own identity, then assuming that of the murderous fairy-tale count of the title.

Both of these bland men have snapped not through any criminal leanings, but in subconscious response to a smotheringly bureaucratic state that has totally denatured their lives – an ever-resonant message that Loscher’s production conveys well, even if it has got a less sure grasp of other portions of Frisch’s elaborate narrative.

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