- Gareth K Vile
- 24 August 2018
Impressive monologue without enough heart
The ambitions of Bloominauschwitz are immediately alarming: one of the most iconic characters of modernist literature and the twentieth century's defining atrocity together leaves performer Patrick Morris with a heavy weight to carry, and while his evocation of James Joyce's everyman hero is poetic, playful and provocative, Richard Fredman's script achieves a superb imitation of the novel's dense, allusive prose that proves uncomfortable when the darkness arrives.
Bloom is visited by his future self, and embarks on a journey to discover his Jewish roots. The basis of the adventure is dwelt on for a long time, wandering around Bloom's story in Ulysses but taking far too long to launch. When Bloom travels to his ancestral homeland to acquaint himself with his family heritage, there is playful joy, but this mood does not transform comfortably into the relatively short Auschwitz scenes. While the script strives to address the Shoah, the seriousness of the subject is never balanced by the language, which skirts around the extent of the atrocity. An attempt to explore Zionism in the last section feels like another major topic that is given too little space.
As an attempt to comment on Jewishness in the twentieth century, Fredman has taken on too much, and the density of the language, although it pastiches Joyce effectively, leaves the production verbose and unemotional. Patrick Morris is excellent throughout, but the production does not earn the grandeur and seriousness that its title claims.
St Stephen's Church, until 25 Aug, 5.10pm, £12 (£10)