I was on my first visit to Northern Stage and was drawn in by The Invisible Man which was premiering in Newcastle before touring, Presenting an electrifying new production adapted from H.G. Wells’ science fiction classic, featuring a new take on one of the most iconic characters in horror fiction. This was said to have explored the themes of exploitation, identity and establishment power and corruption, The Invisible Man questions who is really invisible in Great Britain 2022?
Griffin is a frustrated young man from the North East, with a troubled past and violent thoughts inside his head. He claims he has discovered the power of invisibility. But Griffin’s ‘powers’ have led to him being placed into Government care. After all, a normal, ill-educated kid can’t just invent invisibility. If Dr. Sara Kemp, a promising young therapist, can’t convince him to tell the truth, he threatens to embark upon a fatal ‘reign of terror’.
So what would you do if you were invisible? The question asked by Izzy Ions in on of her many parts within this play. Well in all honestly I’m not entirely sure.
I really enjoyed the relationship and performances between Daniel Watson (Griffin) and Kate Louise Okello (Dr. Kemp). Daniels character Griffin seeking Dr. Kemp out to help him and have someone belive he has this abilty to become invisible. As this relationship grows we find both patient and doctor may not be so different. Both characters having a need to be seen. Dr. Kemp forever reminding us of her title of doctor, living in the shadow of her doctor father, in a male dominated profession as multi racial person in society. Both tired of not being seen and seeking change but with slightly different ideas on how to go about it. Dr Kemp starts strong, clear in her approach and almost fierce on the outisde, she softens and becomes more vulnerable as the play goes on. Griffin played by Watson is edgy, frustrated and angry. Needing Kemp to believe him. Haunted by trauma is he just a vulnerable member of society being passed over and not seen for the talents he does have. Both Watson and Okello are strong in performance and worthy leads.
The multi character roles played by Jack Fairely and Izzy Irons are peromed by both greatly. Both show great versatility in changing roles, personalities and clothing in the flash of a moment. They also both undertook the use of foley in this shoe which we were able to see them do. Another element of what would usually be ‘invisible’ to the audience, this was a n interesting inclusion and one that was integrated with great effect and minimal disruption to the scenes.
The underlying key is whether it is Grffin who claims he has the power of invisblility is indeed telling the truth or if it’s a cry to highlight what we dont see around us in society. Referenced are the homeless, mental health issues, and influence from those who behind the scenes can influncing decisons and outcomes through their own power and position. The first two being prevalent subjects that will continue to need attention, the third however is one us mere mortals down the chain won’t be able to change ever I feel.
An enjoyable play, well written and directed certainly had me thinking after the show. Enjoyable perfomances with tension and humour throughout. The show runs at Northern Stage until 19 February 2022 and is available online from the 10th February. Therafter embarking on a Northern tour.
For more information https://www.northernstage.co.uk/event/the-invisible-man