On a Monday, a boy arrived in a square claiming he had been locked in a small cell for the last 17 years. This is the premise of the play and what ensues is a creative original display of human desire and intrigue. With dedicated acting, the cast mastered the room which housed a sparse audience. Unfortunately this made quieter moments edge on uncomfortable, but this is not a fault of the show.
The five strong cast conducted their roles with excellence and kept the audience engaged through a very complex situation. The story moved between the various people that became interested or involved in the question "Who is Kaspar Hauser?" While some believed his story, there were others who thought it was a scam, a con. Regardless, he brought attention. The play explored the human desire to understand and to want answers even where we may not find any.
Throughout the show, accoustic music and singing was used to amplify the atmosphere in the repurposed church in which we sat. Their droning songs resembling hymns echoed around the space and added a pathos to scenes. Or the overlapping of sung lines from before added a tension as to what would come next. Often, this was a character removing themselves from Kaspar's life and in doing so, the space too.
The audience were spoken to many times as "esteemed guests" who were invited to witness the four experiments of Kaspar Hauser. Audience participation included standing on command, holding blackboards while Kaspar drew on them or even talking directly to the Lord who invited the guests. After characters had chosen to leave 'the experiment', their part in the show had ended and a pattern became clear that whether he was faking it all or not, Kaspar Hauser was draining those around him for attention, potentially right to his end.
With the venue considered, the lighting was basic as the options were flood or dim. There were many moments in the play where floor lighting to backlight and create shadows and spotlights would have created a much more engaging experience. The lighting design alongside some minor mishaps with the costume (some very modern labels being seen on trousers), pulled the play away from potentially being a smash-hit splattering of society's desires on a stage.
This immersive study of intrigue is as interesting as it is a study of finding interest. The script was crafted with elegance and creative flair. Various lines are used by characters and are instantly integrated into Kaspar's vocabulary which is done so subtly that it is potentially missed by some audience members and that makes it all the more beautiful.
With slightly less immersion and a higher production value, it would be easy to see this play hit The Fortune or The Pheonix theatres. A small venue that provides audience intimacy while facilitating the lighting and staging that the script deserves. Some accessibly information includes the venue being wheelchair accessible, with a lift to the bar and accessible toilet.
The Kaspar Hauser Experiment runs at The Space Theatre until 21st October - for more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.
AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | Photography by Livia Hartmann