As our society continues to put pressure on what defines gender, it is no surprise that a trying barrier has awakened a voice in theatre. Complex gender issues are finally being tackled in the captivating crime drama The Mutant Man.
Christopher Bryant’s play The Mutant Man follows the life-story of Harry Crawford, a man who stood on trial for the murder of his wife. At the trial, we flash back to see pieces of Harry’s life stories as details of the crime unfold. Starring Matthew Coulton and Clementine Mills, The Mutant Man subjects audiences to experience mass confusion of internal gender identification and the difficulty of how gender defines personal identity in the world.
This play was equipped with two amazingly talented performers. They both physically and emotionally embodied their characters as they dramatically told their stories filled with internal suffering. Though with these performers the production was near to perfection, there were times throughout the play that needed character clarification. Playing with the perplexity of gender identification was thought-provoking; however, more visual clarity was needed in the scenes that were not solely focused on Harry and his wife. Even though the other characters only appeared for a short time, the actors still needed something more than a suit jacket being take off to differentiate their characters more clearly.
A unique aspect of the play was it’s immersive production design. The stark lighting, unnerving audio-visuals, and sound gave this play an added depth to the drama. Whether it was seeing the blood on Coulton’s hands through the projection or hearing the taping of Mills’ boots on the table, together the design elements established an eerie atmosphere.
As a strong leader in the LGBT community, The Mutant Man is a voice in modern theatre that represents those unheard. This gripping and insightful play opens up enlightening discussions about the problems we face with our ideals and expectations of gender identity today.
Review by Aly Chromy
The Mutant Man
28 March – 8 April 2017
269 Westferry Road
London E14 3RS
Running Time: 70 minutes, no interval