Monday, 04 July 2022

Satire on death that’s full of life

THIS stage version of Catch-22, an adaptation by Joseph Heller himself, is an ambitious undertaking for any small company, with just eight cast members covering some 40 roles.

Gifted direction by Guy Nicholls brings out the best in the actors, both individually and as a group.

Adrian Tang is strong and believable as Yossarian, a bombardier bewildered by the absurdity, chaos and corruption around him during the Second World War. He is focused on staying alive, however he can.

The animated Katie Moreton sparks off lots of laughs in multiple roles, as does the energetic Amelia Sammons. Jose Tornadijo raises smiles with his immaculate timing and Paul Haigh is a stoical anchor as the chaplain, among other roles.

Well done to the whole cast for a lively, accomplished and funny evocation of this complex story, delivered at near breakneck speed. They give it their all.

Peter Cook’s set design facilitates the farcical elements of the comedy and the sound (Stuart McCubbin) and lighting (Trevor Dale and Tom Ripper) give continuity and added meaning. Linda Bostock’s costumes leave us in no doubt that we are with the US air force in Forties Italy.

Catch-22, for all the laughs, is more than a simple comedy since language, truth and morals get turned upside down.

In places the humour darkens, tackling madness, war, mortality and the contradictions of human experience. It’s a remarkable achievement that a satirical meditation on death could be so full of life and leave us laughing.

Susan Creed

More News:

POLL: Have your say