Chaplin: Birth of a Tramp, Jack Studio Theatre - ★★★★★ - Until February 22, 2020

Photographer: Davor Tovarlaza.

Charlie Chaplin was a complicated person and a tortured artist. He took his impoverished childhood in which he had absolutely no control over his circumstances and spun it into the character of the little tramp that charmed the world. When finally he was in control of his destiny as an artist he became a perfectionist, if not a martinet. And then as, perhaps the first victim of the cult of film celebrity, he began to feel that he was a prisoner of that character he had created. The greatest film star of his age was trapped and controlled by his own success, and at the same time, the era of silent film was on the wane. But then, when Chaplin did find his voice it was unsurprisingly to offer a clarion call against those who would control others. His attack on Hitler was impassioned and prescient. This production gets it right in every way. Charlotte Cooke's economical set is beautifully conceived and versatile. She picks up on the cabin in The Gold Rush and uses it to demonstrate visually how Chaplin transmuted his life into all aspects of his art. The mime sequences capture the spirit of silent film and work seamlessly to advance the story. Lucy Ioannou is wonderfully expressive as the tramp and she makes a great team with Conor Moss' Charlie. Benjamin Garrison as the drunken father is spot on and Toby Wynn-Davies does a fine turn as sympathetic brother, Sydney. Laurel Marks is perfect as Virginia Cherrill, and Clare Aster is simply brilliant as Charlie's mother, Hannah. This production is in a theatre slightly off the beaten path, but we certainly advise beating your way to the box office to see it!

Reviewed by J.C.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆☆☆ 

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WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until February 22, 2020
Tue - Sat: 7:30 pm
Jack Studio Theatre
Nearest station: Crofton Park

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