Lolly, Mignon, Eve, Katya – who is Lulu? German playwright Frank Wedekind’s turn of the century creation is all things to all men – precocious child, femme fatale, innocent whore and knowing tease renamed by each lover.
Plucked from the gutter, she’s been groomed to give pleasure and is fully aware of the power she exerts. In Anna Ledwich’s contemporary adaptation (which she also directs for Headlong) Sinead Matthews’ blonde, pouting, posing Lulu is petulant, frightened, capricious, a manipulative Lolita whose succession of besotted husbands all come, one by one, to a terrible end.
The deep, narrow staging gives the effect of peering down a telescope at the receding layers of her inevitable decent from rich man’s plaything to cheap prostitute. It makes for uncomfortable, voyeuristic viewing, a feeling intensified whenever she interacts with Sean Campion’s paedophilic Schoning – the man who made her what she is and, in spite of himself, ends up as husband number three.
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Tube: Notting Hill Gate
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Until 10th July
Review: Louise Kingsley