Being totally unfamiliar with this play, I was pleasantly surprised with several aspects of the show including the brilliant set design, especially that of the laboratory. Protasov (Geoffrey Streatfeild), a scientist so engrossed in his ‘world changing’ experiments he is seemingly oblivious to everything going on around him. Can a man really be so calm knowing another was in love with and trying to win the affections of his wife? Then there’s the widow (played to cringing perfection by Lucy Black) who’s thoroughly in love with him, confessing that rather than read his books, she licks them and rubs them over her naked body. And his sister who’s slowly loosing her mind.
The play culminates when the town’s people seek their revenge on Protasov after realising his experiments have been contaminating their drinking water, hence their ailments. The ending is spectacular. I won’t spoil it but if you’re in the habit of drifting off towards the end of a theater play, you’re in for a loud awakening!