"Ery Nzaramba gives a standout performance as the slave Ithamore who assists Barabas on his quest for revenge."
HFC updates 16th century play superbly
Review by Richard Whitehouse (click here to read it on West Briton - opens in new window)
TAKING a play from the 16th century and making it relevant for the 21st century is quite a challenge, but the Hall for Cornwall's colourful production of Barabas achieves just that.
Barabas is a new production of Christopher Marlowe's Famous Tragedy of the Rich Jew of Malta which features actors and production staff from Cornwall and across the world.
Telling the story of wealthy Jew Barabas it follows his exploits as he finds himself stripped of his wealth as Malta attempts to settle debts with Turkey by placing a levy on the island's Jews.
Barabas challenges the tax and finds himself transformed from a wealthy man to impoverished overnight. When his home is transferred into a nunnery he gets his daughter to join the nuns so that she can retrieve some of his fortune and uses it to exact his revenge.What follows is a wicked tale with Barabas using his daughter to encourage rivals to kill each other, then killing all the nuns when his horrified daughter rejoins them in response to her father's evil deeds.
Throughout Barabas is convinced that he is in the right, no matter how immoral his actions might be.
Joseph Mydell is superb in the role of Barabas capturing the perfect balance of charisma, plotting and humour seen in his character. Ery Nzaramba also gives a standout performance as the slave Ithamore who assists Barabas on his quest for revenge.
Some wonderful original music is provided by the live band performing next to and on the stage giving the play a warm, rich feel.
With the addition of a fantastic set which makes effective use of the full stage space of the Hall for Cornwall and some atmospheric lighting it creates one of the best productions I have seen in Truro.