Wednesday, 30 December 2015

REVIEW - Bull, at the Young Vic


Max Bennett as Tony and Marc Wootton as Thomas in Bull 
at the Young Vic. Credit Manuel Harlan

THE corporate world and the bullying that goes on within it is under the spotlight in a revival of Mike Bartlett's fantastic play Bull.
The production, put on at the Young Vic earlier in 2015 is now back there on the Waterloo theatre's Maria stage and is 55 minutes of often painful viewing.
It is played out in a boxing ring alongside which the audience stands and within which three office workers await their fate from their boss Carter who is looking to get rid of one of them.
It is glaringly obvious from the minute he comes on stage that it is Thomas who is the target for being made redundant and he is mercilessly pursued by his colleagues Tony and Isobel.
Verbal punches thrown with precision, they are like exocet missiles in their relentless destruction of what remains of Thomas's self esteem, self confidence, ability and character.
It is distressing to watch but at the same time not something you can easily take your eyes off.
Eventually after prowling around the stage and disorientating their prey, the lions that they are have ripped him to shreds and he lies utterly broken in a pool of water.
Despite the cruelty which his co-workers inflict on Thomas, this razor-sharp piece is full of dark humour and is a thrilling and gripping production.
Brilliantly written it is also superbly acted by Max Bennett and Susannah Fielding as Tony and Isobel who make life hell for Thomas and Nigel Lindsay as Carter.
But the evening belongs to Marc Wootton as Thomas who desperately tries and ultimately fails to cling on to his job and his self esteem.
Thought provoking and hard hitting, this is a superb production.

Bull is on at the Young Vic until January 16. Visit or call the box office on 020 7922 2922.

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