Rolf Hochhuth (Uk Premier)
Adapted by Lees/Loscher
2014 Finborough Theatre
Dir Mike Lees & Chris Loscher
Lx Rob Mills
Mike Lees' haunting design, propelling us into the horrors of the war with incredible graphics and film, casting beautiful shadows over Death as he speaks one of his shrilling monologues.
The costumes are phenomenal and resonates with the time. CAMILLA GURTLER A YOUNGER THEATRE
The show's biggest strength is its conceptualisation and design. I'm always amazed by Mike Lees's distinct ability to make me feel as if I've never been to this theatre before, and all credit is due to the Finborough's consistently high standard when it comes to the elements of design.
The technical elements of Sommer 14 are simple, but stunning and professional. Though the play spans all of Europe, the set is basic: a dilapidated interior that looks, with its crowning and engravings on the walls, to have once been grand. Each scene easily recreates itself from the last; the movements from Paris to Vienna to Berlin and Sarajevo, are made with ease, but none-the-less believable, thanks to shifts in light and sound. Costuming was impeccable and impressive considering the large cast playing multiple roles.
Perhaps most striking as far as design was Bray's make up as Death. He opens the show pale with gray shadows highlighting his cheeks and a gruesome gun wound to the head, and with each scene, he grows whiter while the shadows darken and spread until his face has unmistakably become a skull. The changes are subtle - occurring slowly over the play's two-and-a-quarter hour run, and by the end the change is shocking but effective. EVERYTHING THEATRE CHELSEY PIPPIN
Mike Lee's design, turning the theatre's walls and windows in grey mottled stone with carved texts in German with atmospheric projections of wire and advancing soldiers, creates each scene with minimal furniture and detailed costume. The script suggests that Hochhuth originally envisaged a large-scale production but he is well served by these less elaborate resources. BRITISH THEATRE GUIDE DAVID CHADDERTON
As I enter the auditorium I am immediately drawn to the stage design - the inside of a tomb or war memorial, once grand, now deteriorated with the engraving:
WER WAR DER TOR
WER WAR DER WEISE
WER DER BETTLER
WER DER KAISER
OB ARM OB REICH
IM TODE GLEICH
For all non-German speakers, this means "Who was the fool, who was the wise man, who the beggar, who the emperor, whether poor or rich, equal in death." A suitable epitaph to the victims of an atrocious war.
The production design by Mike Lees is impressive. The costumes are lavish and utterly authentic and his stage design depicting the ruins of former glory adds to the atmosphere of doom yet can be transformed into the myriad of settings required for the play. CAROLIN KOPPLIN UKTEATRENET
...aided by clearly delineated back projection and a sumptuous production design by Mike Lees. PAUL VALE THE STAGE