In Caroline Sabin’s intimate production In Pursuit Of Maud, both the audience and I were delighted at Insole Court in Cardiff by Rowan Talbot’s brilliant performance as the strange but very talented Igor. Igor is an assistant to one of the greatest mad scientists in the world, Maud. But now he’s racing across the country, desperate to find his mistress, whose body ran off without its brain after an experiment went horribly, horribly wrong.
In Pursuit of Maud is split into three interweaving sections that cut across time, space and presentation style to provide context to the story. The first is the most fun, where Igor regales us with the details of his quest, his insights and his musical talents. The second is entirely filmed and allows us a window into the mind of Maud as she contemplates her past, while trapped as a brain in a jar. This section was shot by BAFTA award winner Chris Crow and allows for a break in the comedy while giving Talbot the chance to change costumes. While these sections were well shot and an important part of the play’s structure, I felt some of them lasted longer than was really necessary.
The third and final staging recasts Talbot as an unnamed narrator who fills us in on the sad story of how Igor and Maud met. I found this to be a really inventive way to allow the audience room to breathe and take in all the fun detail that had been put into the set.
This is a production that all should enjoy for its delightfully dark comic sensibility, stellar star performance, clever writing and inventive direction. Be prepared for a little audience interaction – nothing scary, only the occasional response to poor Igor. (Oh, and be sure to throw him a rose at the end of the performance…) After Welsh theatre’s long COVID winter, I’m happy to say it appears that spring has finally returned.
Insole Court, Cardiff, Tue 15 Feb
In Pursuit Of Maud is at Insole Court until Sat 26 Feb. Tickets: here. It later tours to the Ucheldre Centre, Anglesey on Sat 5 Mar (tickets: here) and the Torch Theatre, Milford Haven on Wed 30 Mar (tickets: here).
words JAMES REYNOLDS
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