A damned good hour

The Hourglass
W.B. Yeats
Burton Theatre
Tues-Sat 9.30pm
Rating: 3.5/5

Short and sweet would be a brief summation of this play.

Coming in at just under a turn of your own hourglass, Yeats’ philosophical mystery play is well executed, if it tends towards the self-indulgent at times, as a worldly Wiseman has an hour before his death to find a true believer for an angel.

The visuals are particularly effective, with monochrome costumes and the action of ripping books being both painful to watch and an excellent image of the student’s “study”, not to mention suiting the pleasingly dream-like tone of the whole show.

The performances were uniformly strong, with a curious blend of naturalism and physical theatre being well executed by all involved.

Louisa Holloway played the Wiseman with stately grace, while the true highlight was the fool, whose frenetically infectious energy conveyed a curious blend of cynicism and innocence. Having her dub the Latin was also a nice touch.

On the whole, the show was only marred by a slight lack of energy and the somewhat contrived poeticism of the script itself, which seemed to hinder the creative thrust, rather than enable it.

All in all, a good investment of an hour of your theatre-going time.