Review: Wit

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Trinity Players new production is an accomplished and memorable performance of W;t, the story of a fifty-year-old professor of 17th century poetry, Dr Bearing, and her battle with cancer. It’s hardly the most uplifting of themes, but it’s darkly comic script which intelligently weaves John Donne’s poetry with wise cracks about being a university tutor, will no doubt make its audiences think about the subject, and their professor, in new and profound ways

The piece is stylishly directed: it’s slick, clean and pacy (perhaps even a little too fast; a little more poignancy could be added by really playing up the silences in the piece). Olivia Ouwehand and Rory Platt, really do deserve tremendous credit for the such a polished and well rehearsed piece. 

As a Pulitzer Prize winning script, W;t is smart, edgy and bubbles with thought provoking lines, particularly poignant for me being those regarding powerlessness when being treated in a hospital by those students Dr Bearing used to teach. There is nice circularity to the piece and Edson has crafted a genuinely believable, and of course, witty, Dr Bearing, helped immeasurably by the character’s constant interaction with the audience.  The length is just right – any longer and I think I would have gotten quickly bored of someone slowly dying and repeated references to the same Donne poem. 

The entire cast is strong, and successfully create a nice balance between the humour and pathos. A singular reservation I had with Emily Troup’s portrayal of Dr Bearing was that occasionallyshe relied a little too much on being out of breath and tired.Obviously this is to be expected of someone undergoing cancer treatment, but I would have just liked a little more nuance. This aside, she is nigh on faultless.

All in all, top class.

4 stars

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