The Mannequin previewed at the Bunker Theatre this Sunday, by the King’s Players in collaboration with Das Stück, a London-based multimedia theatre company. The play centralises on the concept and the physical presence of a mannequin. The mannequin acts as a prompt for human dramatics, which happen among a group of creatives all lost in their own journeys of love and artistic pursuits.
The play opens with Dimas, a fashion designer whose obsession with his mannequin and stylistic creation resembles the Greek mythological figure of Pygmalion. He is enthralled by the idea of perfection, and so experiments with the mannequin to convey creative possibilities, even though it is completely devoid of life. Alan Hall’s portrayal of the neurotic designer is both convincing and intriguing. However, there were no further developments in his story arc, as it was overwhelmed by the tumultuous relationships between other characters, as well as the crumbling love between Nina and Samson.
Apart from Dimas, Medea Manza’s portrayal of the despondent Nina stands out through her interaction with the theme. As the play progresses, it is clear that Nina is trapped by the image that others conceive of her and the emotional strain that comes with modelling, acting essentially as a human mannequin. Vanessa, played by Evalcia Allen, is vivacious and a distinct character of her own, yet the complexity of her feelings towards Dimas fails to be fully engaging. The other two characters, Devon and Andrew, each have their own charms; played by James Green, Devon is accurately depicted as a young diffident artist, while Andrew, played by Gabriel Thomson, is contrastingly depicted as a self-indulgent drag performer. However, the relationship between the two does not generate the emotional impact that one expects, and appears to be completely detached from the central idea of the mannequin, which, at times, seems to have no connection to the conflicts between the characters.
Overall, the play is well-directed, and the play’s multimedia incorporation of sensory, visual stimulation creates an ambience of sophistication reminiscent of French cinema. Though at times unsatisfying, The Mannequin is certainly a fresh production, full of potential.
The Mannequin is showing at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Fleming Theatre from 19th-24th August and you can find tickets here.
Edited by Alexia McDonald, Digital Editor