Attracted by the cast – Benedict Campbell, Scott Wentworth, Nancy Palk, Luke Humphrey, but a bit leary of the title, we headed off to Tarragon to see this play by Andrew Kushnir.

The first act reminded me of The Book of Mormons – two innocent young men setting off to a foreign place to do good. In this case the place is Ukraine and the good is election oversight. Hilarity ensues and so does tragedy.

The play is a bit unfocused. At the end it is hard to decide what the main theme was – Western arrogance? Young men romanticizing the past and their ability to inflict change? Nuclear devastation? You decide because the author didn’t.

As expected, Scott Wentworth was marvellous as The Kobzar and The Doctor. His comic timing is precise, but his ability to bring you into his tragedy is also brilliant.

Benedict Campbell and Nancy Palk both had a great time chewing up the scenery as The Professor and The Housekeeper. Nancy Palk has the  ability to communicate so much with a sideways glance! The dream sequence where she is cooking Ivan is hilarious.

Luke Humphrey was great as Ivan. He has the look of the naive idealist. He is funny when required, but his horror and fear on discovering the truth about Artemisia is palpable.

And the title ? Chernobyl means Wormwood.



About cathyriggall

Theatre junkie, who thinks live theatre is the ultimate form of living on the edge. You never know what will happen when an actor steps on the stage.
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One Response to Wormwood

  1. keithhpotter says:

    I thought it was a rather clunky parable about The Ukraine that rather wasted a very strong cast.

    I agree that it was unfocused. The author needed someone to sit him down and say, “Okay, now, which of these themes do you want to focus on?”

    By the way, Wormwood, or Apsinthos, was the star (angel?) that fell to earth and poisoned the waters – appropriate for Chernobyl.
    Also, Tarragon is another member of the Artemesia family, like Wormwood.

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