REVIEW: Hammerhead, Pulse Festival, New Wolsey Theatre ✭✭✭✭

Paul T Davies reviews Joseph Morpurgo’s Hammerhead at Pulse Festival at the New Wolsey Theatre

Joseph Morpurgo in Hammerhead at Pulse Festival

Pulse Festival at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich.
9 June 2018
4 Stars
Pulse Festival Information

Joseph Morpurgo presents his one man masterpiece, a boundary-smashing 9 hour adaptation of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, in which he plays all the characters. Well, not quite. We join him at the Q and A after the show; he hasn’t even had time to remove his stage make up before he humbly appears before us to take our questions- both from the live audience and the “millions” tuning in via social media.

It’s a high energy, hilarious and hugely enjoyable performance of vanity and denial, taking the piss perfectly out of acting and actor’s methods. The questions from the audience are perfectly planted, and signpost the way effectively through the Q and A as Morpurgo’s denial crumbles and his debt and exhaustion become more obvious. There’s a nice edge of tension as his breakdown increases. There’s also an effective swipe at our unhealthy obsession with trivia as we become more interested in the love life of one audience member than we do with Frankenstein!

Although the show has a strict structure, Morpurgo improvises brilliantly with the audience- never has one balloon brought so much joy to so many people! When the next “act” on the Festival crashes onto the stage- DJ Samuel Beckett who is going to “Take us to the Endgame”- I was done! Outrageously funny, do not miss this performer if you get the chance!

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