Ginger Hibiscus | Ginger Hibiscus | Review: Diary of a Nobody at the King's Head Theatre
Ginger Hibiscus | Review: Diary of a Nobody at the King's Head Theatre
Ginger Hibiscus | Review: Diary of a Nobody at the King's Head Theatre
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29 Jan REVIEW: Diary of a Nobody at the King’s Head Theatre

Over 125 years ago, and almost a century before Adrian Mole or Bridget Jones were even a twinkle in their authors’ eyes, The Diary of a Nobody was being published as a series of episodes in Punch magazine. Later amalgamated and extended into an illustrated book, the series, and now the play, focuses on the life of the titular nobody, Charles Pooter (Jake Curran), an upper-middle-aged, lower-middle-class London clerk.

Following the trivialities, twists and turns of his life, from the nurturing of his mustard seeds to attending important society events, we’re thrown head first into the illustrated edition, complete with the heavily stylised set and costume of a group and scene that’s been sketched with a marker pen onto the white canvas of life. The nifty design from Karina Nakaninsky and Christopher Hone, is as quirky and memorable as Pooter’s son, Lupin (George Foreacres), a young man unlucky in love and untalented in the workplace.

Unlike Lupin, George and Weedon Grossmith, the writers of the original serial, were incredibly successful in the workplace, having begun their careers as actors, originating nine principal roles for Gilbert and Sullivan. They went on to prove their skill at drawing the comic out of the mundane in The Diary of a Nobody, highlighting the everyday laughs that could just fade from consciousness in a matter of moments; but when those laughs are amalgamated into a play, they serve to compound one another into a frenzy of hilarity. The delirium is further exacerbated by the delivery from a cast who visibly love the script (Mary Franklin), both revelling and excelling in the opportunities to ad lib, creating a spontaneity about the piece that’s augmented with numerous felicitous arcs.

The four actors, George Fouracres, Jake Curran, Jordan Mallory-Skinner and Geordie Wright alternate as narrator, reading Pooter’s diary aloud as the men become the characters of the story, with the help of just the occasional prop and some contrasting mannerisms. Boasting inventive staging in a mundane, domestic environment, moments of subversion keep the audience fully engaged and ramp up the chaotic scenes as they play out.

An incredibly endearing production, The Diary of a Nobody is as British as Mr Bean, and about 100 times as funny. Silly, light and entertaining, it’s not a play that’s going to change your life or challenge you in a profound way, but it will leave you with a smile on your face and a chuckle on your lips.

Dates: 20th January – 14th February 2015

Location: King’s Head Theatre


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Star Rating

Ginger Hibiscus don’t like using stars as a headline; we think they’re too reductionist, and that decision-making based on stars misses the point of a review. Just as you wouldn’t judge a personality using a five-point scale, theatre is multi-dimensional. So have a read, and then look at the stars afterwards.
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