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Review: THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY at Ghost Light Theatre, Nelson

Review: THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY at Ghost Light Theatre, Nelson

Giles Burton's adaptation of G K Chesterton's 1908 spy thriller 'The Man who was Thursday', is an intriguing and gripping comedy.

In Edwardian era London, poet Gabriel Syme has been recruited into a secret police anti-anarchist unit, the Philosopher Police. His mission, to infiltrate the Supreme Anarchist Council and save the western world. As they chase across Europe to defeat the dreaded Sunday, the man who organises all anarchy, he is drawn deeper and deeper into their world of chaos and confusion, as he gradually uncovers their shocking secrets.

Pete Coates masterfully portrays all 20 characters, and an elephant. Watching him have three-way conversations with himself is both brilliant and hilarious, and yet totally believable.

Subtle changes in tone and pace of speech, accent, facial expressions, gait and posture were used to skilfully and distinctly portray each of the myriad of characters, from timid poets to grotesque tyrants to taxi drivers.

Fast-paced and totally compelling, the entire audience was captivated throughout the entire performance. It had a brilliant simplicity about it that connected on every level and at every twist and turn.

With only a chair, a sword and a sword stand for props, there is no where to hide. But the audience didn't want for more. Aided by subtle lighting changes as well as occasionally being thrust into complete darkness, was all the audience needed to be transported to new and diverse environments.

Even the programme carries the same sharp wit experienced throughout. The show was adapted by Rob Suteling, sound design by Gilbert Soun and lighting by Burt Nigoles ... all anagrams of Director Giles Burton.

Debuting at the Nelson Fringe Festival in 2018, the one-man play went on to win Best Solo Performer, Best Director and Best Show.

With only a few subtle changes, the show is now taking to the stage once more. Following two successful nights at the Ghost Light Theatre in Nelson, it will be performing at BATS Theatre in Wellington as part of the New Zealand Fringe Festival from 17 to 20 March before heading to the Prague Fringe Festival in May.

Bookings for Wellington:

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