I had never heard of the story of Cool Hand Luke but when I heard Marc Warren would be playing a bad boy I couldn’t resist.
Emma Reeves adapted the play from the novel ‘Cool Hand Luke’ by Donn Pearce. The play focuses on the true story of Lloyd ‘Luke’ Jackson, a former solider turned convict. Known as a legend in prison for his daring escapes and famous for destroying parking meters. Nicknamed as Cool Hand due to him always playing cool in the face of brutality and always getting back up after a beating.
Set in Florida in the scorching heat, Boss Godfrey is in charge of the chain gang (a group of prisoners chained together and made to do physical work). Superbly played by Richard Brake, he never breaks his control and remains a brutal authority figure. The convicts obey and ask for permission for anything, even to take their shirt off. Along with Boss Kean, played by Kenneth Jay, and Boss Higgins, played by Bret Jones, the chain gang is kept in strict order. Until a new arrival, Cool Hand Luke.
Luke, played by Marc Warren, never breaks a sweat and is playing it cool throughout. To win a bet, he happily accepts to eat 50 eggs in an hour. An incredible scene to watch as all the characters are fully involved and intensely watch Luke. The audience, even though slight of hand is used, is shocked at the performance. Another scene of comic elements played excellently by Marc Warren, is when we first see Luke taking the heads of parking meters off when he is drunk. The comic interaction between the police officer and Luke, once again shows him playing it cool.
The cast also includes Lee Boardman as Dragline, Joshua McCord as Rabbit, Rob Falconer as Bull Bill, Lisa Eichhorn as Mrs Jackson, Rebecca Blackstone as Lucille, Michael Cuckson as Babalugats, David Sturzaker as Society Red , Tom Silburn as Curly, Julie Rogers as Gretchen, Nathan Osgood as Carr, Joshua McCord as Rabbit, Tania Mathurin as Mahalia, Sandra Marvin as Mary and Andrew Martyn-Lewis as Sailor.
A beautiful cast performing the story of a convict that you can’t help but love, also revealing an interesting insight into the chain gangs in America.
29th September 2011