The Pulverised, 2 Stars

The Pulverised
2nd to 27th May 2017
Arcola Theatre

Following an explosive premiere at the National Theatre of Strasbourg, where it won the
prestigious Grand Prix de la Littérature, Alexandra Badea’s
The Pulverised arrives in the UK with a
new English translation.

When work knows no borders, what’s the cost? Badea’s explosive drama is a powerful and
unsettling portrait of globalisation’s far-reaching grip on our working lives.
A quality assurance officer from France, a call centre manager from Senegal, a factory worker from
China, and an engineer from Romania – in four corners of the world, they are all engaged in one
struggle: the multinational conglomerate they work for is trying to engulf their every waking
moment. The Pulverised is a vital new play about escaping the rat race, overcoming distances and
discovering new life”.

Writer Alexandra Badea
Director Andy Sava
Translator Lucy Phelps

Set/Costume Designer Nicolai Hart-Hansen
Sound/Video Designer Ashley Ogden
Lighting Designer Tom Smith
Movement Director Lanre Malaolu

Review by Richard Lambert, 2 Stars

This 90 minute self-proclaimed “vital new play” seems to have lost it’s way in translation from French into English. It goes nowhere, characters have lots of monologues that feel repetitive with little purpose or story to tell beyond their 1st introductory statements.

Pepper each scene change with movements that look like cybermen peppered with  gold dust as they do a Wizard of Oz-esque “I’m melting” while a colleague twitches up from lying on the floor to a standing position like a jerking puppet and you’re left wondering “why”? For most of the show there’s 1 stood actor doing their scene with the 3 other actors lying on the floor! Very unimaginative staging!

If you miss seeing the Telly Tubbies, have no fear – the Set has been re-created here in Studio 2 of the Arcola!  – over the hill and far away – the Pulverised come out to play. All set in front of a wall which has a Dr Who Crack/Pink Floyd’s The Wall big hole in it. For their final scene each actor removes a large polystyrene piece from it making the hole bigger. It looks and sounds like a large piece of polystyrene which you hope doesn’t get damaged as it’s removed. After the 1st piece is removed you know how the remainder of the show will go…….predictably.
(Photo Credit: Dashti Jahfar)

The Cast are a fine set of actors struggling to bring drama to a script that lacks dramaturgy. There were tears – but I’m not sure why they were crying.

The costumes are the same throughout – we’re only told about waking up, having a shower, pulling on your skirt/trousers while watching a fully suited actor. Somehow feels the Direction was a little lazy….

The lighting is decent. The Sound struggles to find purpose so heightens drama where there is a lack of drama.The video projection splashes all across the front of the actors before hitting the Set wall – so there’s a large actor shadow on the wall and what should be shown on the wall is seen sectioned on the actors’ faces and clothing. Thankfully after a lot of video early on in the show it’s then not used again until the end of the show.

The highlight of the show for me was a choreographed dance by 3 actors circling Rebecca as she describes her factory assembly of a circuit board. We’re told that there’s a “2 second breathe” between each board but sadly not shown this. This clever section could have been repeated again to demonstrate the frenetic work life of Rebecca – but instead the production moved on far too quickly!

This show feels like a very long 90 minutes.

Rebecca Boey
Richard Corgan
Solomon Israel
Kate Miles

Title: The Pulverised

Performance Dates Tuesday 2nd – Saturday 27th 2017
Monday – Saturday, 8pm
Saturday matinees, 3.30pm
Running time 90 minutes

Location Arcola Theatre, 24 Ashwin Street, Dalston, London E8 3DL, 020 7503 1646
Box Office Tickets are available from and on 020 7503 1646
priced £17 (£14)

Twitter @Changing_Face, @ArcolaTheatre, #ThePulverised

How to get there Arcola Theatre is located on Ashwin Street, off Kingsland Road. The
nearest stations are Dalston Kingsland and Dalston Junction (on the London
Overground). Both connect with Highbury and Islington (on the Victoria
and Overground Lines), Whitechapel (on the District and Hammersmith and
City Lines) and Stratford (on National Rail and the Central, Jubilee and DLR
Lines). Hackney Downs station, ten minutes by train from Liverpool Street,
is a 3-minute bus ride on numbers 30 and 56.