Ah, Wilderness! Young Vic 4 stars In his 1932 play Ah, Wilderness, Eugene O’Neill returns to familiar themes such as family life, alcoholism and thwarted idealism but it stands out among his work for having a lightness of touch and event moments of comedy. Set in Connecticut on July 4 in 1906, it is a nostalgic family drama that is said to be O’Neill’s reinvention … Read more
With the audience sat and stood around three sides, the action regularly erupts off the stage, from projectile soiled sheets to splashes of murky toilet water. At 65 minutes, it moves along at a cracking and sometimes disorienting pace that leaves you staggering out of the theatre feeling like you’ve been assaulted (but in a good way).
With an energetic and talented ensemble, the show gives the audience everything they came for, from the much-loved songs to comedy bordering on campness. You get inflatable sheep, singing camels and dancing Egyptians alongside musical pastiches with line-dancing cowboys, gospel choirs, calypso singers and Edith Piaf-style cabaret.
Merit has a timeless quality, examining themes relevant to any society going through economic upheaval. It also explores broader ideas such as our responsibilities towards others when money is short: Patricia questions Sofia’s decision to give to charity when people are losing their homes just as many people question whether countries in recession should continue to give aid to the developing world.