Rite of Passage
Greek actor Nikos Dionysios recently settled in London, after a successful career in Athens and North America. But this one man show about a performer preparing for the terrors and torments of an audition, seems to be an autobiographical piece based on the difficulties of gaining personal recognition in New York.
In a telephone conversation with an unseen friend, he confesses that the project is an unpaid role in an off-off-Broadway musical (with “off” to the power of six). And downstage, he tells us that, with his accent and unruly mane of hair, he is neither acceptable as a native English speaker, nor as any other nationality except perhaps Native American - although not to Native Americans.
This dilemma cues angry, tormented extracts from Orestes and The Bacchae, and a sustained comedy extract from Godot, in which he plays both Estragon and Vladimir to good effect. But edited scenes from Hamlet, despite their mesmeric effect, emphasizes his Mediterranean accent and a lack of familiarity with Shakesperean verse speaking.
His performance is a striking opening to the Bridewell's new Lunchbox season. But more importantly it provides an impressive showcase for a performer, new to London, whose powerful dramatic sense, clear articulation, strong vocal projection and expressive movement and, dance, are virtues long missing from our stage. Casting directors are strongly urged to take a look at his show.
THE STAGE, APRIL 30,1998