Found in the Ground

This event has now finished. Until Oct 11 2009

© Robert Workman

Time Out says  

Posted: Thu Oct 8 2009

I am an enormous fan of Howard Barker and his project - to challenge the idea that theatre must be comprehensible or useful. So I was puzzled and even shocked by how much I didn't like his new play, 'Found in the Ground'.

Its baroque scenario features an elderly Nuremberg Trial judge gorging himself on the remains of the Nazi generals he sent to the gallows while his librarian burns his books and carries on an affair with his daughter. Across the empty black stage a topless woman, her head obscured by a large hat, ceaselessly stalks, occasionally declaiming, 'I am all the Anne Franks'. Towards the end, Hitler turns up and chats amiably about the landscape.

This would probably be enough to put most people off, but, oddly, it doesn't feel like the text was the problem here, so much as this production of it. It may bed in during its short run, but it feels like the problems are entrenched and it is the aesthetic that has misfired. On press night, the design hadn't achieved the necessary impact and the performances hadn't quite gelled. On re-reading the text, I was surprised by how little of it I'd experienced.

Instead, the lasting impression is one of unfocused lighting plots, scrappy sound design and several performances so monolithic and declamatory that it is impossible to discern what is being said. It's like attending the funeral of a literary hero only to discover he is burying himself.

Riverside Studios details

Riverside Studios, Crisp Rd, W6 9RL

Riverside Studios

The Riverside Studios has had a long and enterprising history. Starting life as an industrial building in the 1800s, it was bought by the Triumph...

Read full venue review

Transport Hammersmith 


020 8237 1111

Book theatre tickets