Preview: Roberto Zucco
Chapter Arts Centre, Stwdio
9-19th July, 2014
Cardiff based theatre company August 012 are committed to introducing Welsh audiences to the best international playwrights. Their debut production, Caligula, was highly critically acclaimed, being nominated for Best Production at the Theatre Critics’ of Wales Awards earlier this year. This summer they are presenting French writer and director Bernard-Marie Koltés’ final play; Roberto Zucco.
Based on true events, the dark play recounts the criminal antics of Italian serial killer Roberto Succo. The real Succo terrorised Europe in the 1980s between stints in prison, often breaking free from incarceration to commit even more terrible offences.
Director Mathilde López is presenting the scandalous play in the traverse style – with audience on two sides, creating a corridor in which the actors perform. This intimate staging allows the characters to really connect with the audience which will leave you questioning where your sympathies lie. Is Roberto a brutal murderer and kidnapper? Or is he a misunderstood and poetic young man whose life could have been different had those around him reacted differently?
Despite the sinister subject matter the play is hugely comedic, flipping between earnest monologues and madcap, slapstick set pieces. The contrast between Adam Redmore’s quiet, contemplative Zucco and Bethan Mai’s hysterical aging nymphomaniac will certainly bring a smile to your face.
The four strong cast multi-role throughout the show, often having to present large crowd scenes, resulting in hilarious audience participation (you have been warned!). Joanna Simpkins and John Norton form a zany double act as the police force hunting down Zucco, they may require your help so be prepared.
And if it didn’t sound bonkers enough already there will also be a live choir and electric guitar adding musical accompaniment (and more) throughout.
Director Mathilde sums it up pretty well in her description of the show as ‘a cheap 1980’s version of the ten commandments in a brothel’.