The famous Questors theatre is one of Ealing’s finest and proudest jewels, so we were delighted when we got invited to view The Balcony performed by the Questors Academy Student Group.
The cast consists of 12 talented and artistic people from Questors Group 67. It is obvious from the very beginning they have put their heart and soul in to this production. Their performance starts before the show opens, when the spectators come in via the Hooker Lane and greeted by some of the cast already on stage or amongst the audience, in character, posing and pulling faces at us.
Most of “The Balcony” is in a brothel (or rather the “House of Illusions” or “The Studios” as its owner Madam Irma prefers to call it). The Customers (sorry, the Visitors) come to fulfil their fantasies of holding powerful positions. In the first three (and most powerful, in my opinion scenes) we have the Bishop, the Judge and the General. We see their fetishes being played out.
It’s all fun and games, until the fighting from the local revolution rudely interrupts. The Queen and her officials go missing. Madam Irma (Jolene Howorth) and George, the Chief of Police (Devesh Patel) come up with a cunning plan to preserve “the status quo” and become immortal.
Special recognition for Devesh – what a performance! His demeanour and facial expressions alone deserve an award!
Provocative 20th century classic it says on the programme, and provocative indeed it is.
One of the modern critiques of Genet and his masterpieces is that they are no longer as controversial as they were in his time.
Well, this production is definitely powerful and controversial. The actors couldn’t do a better job to communicate Genet’s vision and message. We are kept on edge throughout, struggling to differentiate reality from illusion.
The sounds, AV effects and costumes are brilliant. These, amongst many other backstage roles, are done by the students of the University of West London in collaboration with The Questors Theatre.
All in all, it is a strong, thought-provoking and polished production.
Keep up the good work, guys!
The last performance is on 12th April. Leave your children at home and go enjoy some grown up fun and, with the most expensive ticket at £15, what a bargain too!
P.S Don’t forget to have a drink or two at the famous Grapevine Bar, who appear in 2014 edition of the Good Beer Guide and CAMRA West Middlesex Club of the Year.