Theatre Review: 6 Actors in Search of a Director - Charing Cross Theatre ✭✭

6 Actors in Search of a Director

Charing Cross Theatre

Wednesday 23rd May 2012: ‘Six Actors in Search of a Director’ takes its name from the popular 1921 play by Luigi Pirandello, ‘Six Characters in Search of an Author’, and is based around a similar premise: the characters’ dependence on the director’s inspiration and instruction to bring them to life and complete their stories.

In Steven Berkoff’s new comedy the action is set in the present day, as six actors wait in a hotel lounge to be called back to the film set by their director. As times passes, they become more and more frustrated, both with themselves and each other, and begin to question their dependence on the director for guidance, validation and, indeed, their very existence.

Ruth Everett, Paul Trussell,  
Sarah Chamberlain, Philip Voss,  
Neil Stuke

Photo Credit: Marilyn Kingwill
The play begins with all of the characters offstage, and we hear them attempting to shoot a scene in which they stop a car outside a house. The scene never progresses for more than a few seconds before the director shouts ‘CUT!’ and demands that they begin again, and humorously encapsulates the tedious, frustrating nature of film work.

The actors then arrive onstage, and their initial camaraderie and chatter on the joys of film acting quickly dissolves into irritability as the waiting time drags on. Neil Stuke was on fine exasperating form as Brian, a more experienced actor who condescendingly torments the younger characters, including newcomer Francis (Ruth Everett) and naïve idealist Debra (Sarah Chamberlain). Philip Voss was also excellent as Charles, an older actor somewhat out of step with the others, and particularly their love of Apple technology. His final, explosive outburst at Brian’s egotism was incredibly well-delivered and provoked spontaneous applause from the audience.

However, despite these performances and brief moments of comedy, unfortunately I struggled to fully enjoy the play. The characters are all rather unlikeable, and as the play progressed I found myself just as tense and infuriated as they were: a successful conveyance of the atmosphere I suppose, but not necessarily an enjoyable experience for an audience member! The self-conscious, affected nature of all of the characters also meant that some of the acting was uncomfortably exaggerated.

All in all, the play is an intense and at times amusing exploration of the realities of acting. However, those looking for a relaxing or light-hearted evening at the theatre might be disappointed. ✭✭

Review by Emma Curry

6 Actors in Search of a Director

Written and directed by Steven Berkoff

Charing Cross Theatre
(formerly New Players Theatre) 
The Arches, 
Villiers Street

phone: 020 7907 7075
(booking fee applies)
(booking fee applies)
in person: Charing Cross Theatre
(no booking fee applies)

Wednesday 16th May - Saturday 23rd June
Monday - Saturday at 7.30pm
Saturday matinee at 3.30pm

Press Night: Wednesday May 23 at 7.30pm

Tickets:  £29.50 / £24.50