A Model for Mankind (James Sheldon), Cock Tavern Theatre 10 April

**

So my cold and I decided to visit Kilburn, for the first time in many years in my case–I wouldn’t like to say where it has been recently.  We slept soundly through most of the first half of this play, which contrasts the experiences of Shostakovich’s doctor when he was pressured to denounce the Testimony published in the West by Solomon Volkov as the composer’s-as-told-to memoirs  with those of the composer as a young man.

And there was an awful lot of clunky exposition–the second sentence above is surely a good example of clunky exposition, so I know what I’m talking about.  We had (apparently) to be told what each scene and character meant without being allowed to work it out for ourselves.  Richard Keightley certainly had a striking resemblance to the young Shostakovich  on occasions, while Shireen Martineau endowed both of her characters with an Irish accent and Jack Lewis was neither threatening nor badly-dressed enough.  But the design and the use of the audience as the relevant sub-committee (only 2500 years after Aeschylus in the Eumenides) were ingenious and a green lampshade made me think hopefully of Bulgakov.

So my cold and I set off home during the interval, and we were totally confused by the three stations at West Hampstead.  One would be more than enough.

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