2 March 2013

V for Vendetta at Sci-fi Weekender

The expected high-light of the second day at Sci-fi Weekender 2013 was, for me, a stage version of the classic V for Vendetta. This was on late in the afternoon after a few panels and I sat through those to secure a front-row seat.

That proved to be an excellent plan as the play had tremendous problems with the sound system and I think that only those of us in the front-row could hear most of it. Even then when the action was on the far side of the stage it was hard to follow the action at times.

An attempt was made to recover the situation by littering the stage with microphones but all they did was cause the actors to stand motionless as they spoke in to them to no effect.

OK, gripe over. The sound system was diabolically awful, and should have been fixed, but I was seated nicely in the front row just a couple of metres from the action so for me things were not too bad.

The play was a fairly direct retelling of the original comic book version, as you would expect, and I recognised many of the passages, The stage was thinly set this V's hideout on one side and a multi-purpose office on the other. The large space in the middle could belong to either setting or be one of its own, such as Larkhill Resettlement Camp where V's story began.

The lack of staging was not a problem and our imaginations driven by the actors' words was enough to conjure up the required images. A little red lighting helped with the explosions too.

Thanks to the staging and the need to be stationery there was not much acting required, not that much was required as the story is all about dialogue, such as V explaining to Evey what he is doing and why.

Both V and Evey played their parts well. V strode around the stage in his mark with purpose and menace while Evey was every inch the fragile young woman that she was meant to be.

Of course the strength of the play is the original story and that is still a belter after all this time, I first read the comics in 1988 and it was first printed in 1982. I've reread the comics since then (and bought the collected edition despite owning the individual comics) and watched the film a few times so the story is familiar and still it gripped me with its drama and poetry.

I was hoping that V for Vendetta would be a highlight of Sci-fi Weekender 2013, and it was.

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