Based on the novel by Jonathan Coe, What A Carve Up examines the murders of the Winshaw family in the early 90s, looking into evidence that hadn’t been brought to light at the time. Only one man was named a suspect, Michael Owen, who was writing a book on the family to expose their corrupt ways. However, in this production, we see his son Raymond determined to prove his father’s innocence. Although this is really well produced and is an impressive feat to create during a global pandemic, I found that it wasn’t interesting enough for me to capture my attention.
What is really unique about this production is that I wouldn’t call it theatre. If anything, it’s more of a visualised audio drama. The setting doesn’t really need to be taken into account here, the production team could have just made this into just an audio drama. However, I feel like this would’ve hindered the viewing experience a little as we then wouldn’t get to watch Alfred Enoch’s wonderful central performance as Raymond who makes you feel like he’s talking directly to you through the screen. Similarly, we would also miss Fiona Button’s excellent and very funny performance as Josephine Winshaw-Eaves who is being interviewed by a journalist (although not utilised enough, a great performance from Tamzin Outhwaite) as her mother was among the victims.
Overall though, I just didn’t really care that this family had been murdered. The set up of the production was good but it trailed off for me as it kept going round in the same circles. The attempt to interweave the family into modern politics fell flat for me, it just became a bit unbelievable. I also didn’t really understand the ending and why this direction was taken. Perhaps it’s because I’m unfamiliar with murder mysteries and the genre overall, I just lost interest throughout the production.
However!! I do applaud the Barn Theatre, the Wolsey Theatre and the Lawrence Bately Theatre for coming together and producing something to keep theatregoers entertained while theatres can’t fully open. It can’t have been easy to pull together this creative team and cast in such a short space of time. I think this is just something that wasn’t for me. Give it a chance if it’s something that sounds like it’s up your street. But not even 20 seconds of Jonathan Bailey’s voice could keep me interested in this production.
Until next time,
Categories: On Screen