Earlier this week, I treated myself to the brand new Bridge Theatre, located just next to Tower Bridge. Nicholas Hytner and Nick Starr bring their experience of working at the National theatre to their new theatre home in London. The aim of the theatre is to produce new work as well as staging a good classic every now and then. They have already announced their first season which includes productions of Julius Caesar, and new plays Nightfall and A Very Very Dark Matter. Their first production is Young Marx written by Richard Bean and Clive Coleman, which follows the life of a 32 year old, Karl Marx.
Before I get into the play, I must say that the Bridge is, by far, the swankiest theatre in London. Hands down. The absolutely gorgeous lighting really makes you feel like you are walking into a fancy restaurant in Soho. You can order drinks, grab dinner or grab a snack from the bakery. I opted for a croissant and devoured it in seconds. I have heard a lot about their madeleines which I’ll be sure to pick up next time. It is a gorgeous venue and has the same feeling I get at the National that it’s a lovely place to chill out, even if you aren’t seeing a show. Then the doors opened and I entered the auditorium to await the Bridge’s first production Young Marx.
It’s a fine touch for the theatre to open with a comedy. The play features quite a lot of comedic scenes that were reminiscent of Richard Bean’s play One Man, Two Guvnors, also directed by Nicholas Hytner, which I saw back in 2012. If you particularly enjoyed that play, then you will enjoy Young Marx. But what sets this play apart is how Bean and Coleman really balance out the lighthearted aspects and the dark times in Marx’s early life.Ashamedly, I only know very little about Karl Marx and his life so I can’t comment on the accuracy of the script. However, this didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the play on a quiet Wednesday afternoon.
Rory Kinnear stars as Karl Marx. I’ve seen Rory in a handful of things but he is truly a terrific actor. Karl Marx is a complete overhaul to Mack the Knife in The Threepenny Opera, when I last saw him on stage. He is one half of a brilliant duo with Oliver Chris as Friedrich Engels, both actors producing great on stage chemistry and bouncing well off each other. Nancy Carroll and Laura Elphinstone were also excellent on stage as Jenny and Nym, Marx’s wife and family maid, respectfully. There are frequent scenes in the play between the four of them that were excellent to watch.
This group of fantastic actors perform on a beautifully designed set by Mark Thompson. The set contains a rotating piece in the middle which transforms as a pub, the Marx family kitchen, a pawn shop and a dueling ground throughout the show. My next trip to the Bridge Theatre will be to see Julius Caesar where they will have a promenade filled with audience members acting as a mob. So I’m particularly excited to see how the theatre will transform.
For more information on the Bridge Theatre and their future productions please visit https://bridgetheatre.co.uk/
Young Marx is currently running until December 31st and will be broadcast through National Theatre Live on 7th December. For tickets and more information please visit https://bridgetheatre.co.uk/whats-on/young-marx/