ENGLISH THEATRE FRANKFURT
The English Theatre Frankfurt isn’t heading into the new season with a classic drama, but with a comedy. And what a comedy it is! For Ryan McBryde, Associate Director at the English Theatre Frankfurt, producing this play has been a cherished dream for quite some time and he has mastered the task of bringing Barnes’ bizarre story to the stage brilliantly.
The fireplace becomes a crematorium, the salon a psychiatric ward, and the desk turns into a wedding cake. Even if you do not understand every sentence in the ambitious English text, the joke unfolds with a force that sweeps across language barriers. Even at three hours in length, you can hardly get enough of this scabrous Upper Class.
The audience is guaranteed an entertaining evening at the theatre, during which much fun is made of the typical British stereotypes. And thanks to the extraordinary quality of Barnes’ play, there’s not just a lot to laugh about, the viewer can also expect to feel a cold shiver run down his or her spine while witnessing moments of true horror on the stage at the English Theatre.
As witty as Oscar Wilde, reminiscent of Brecht regarding theatrical understanding and in the same class as McBryde’s musical “Tommy” in terms of equipment and features, Peter Barnes’ play "The Ruling Class" might just be the most elaborate production ever staged at the English Theatre.
Stage Director Ryan McBryde manages to lead his ensemble of 10 through a plot that is highly amusing yet peppered with deeply stirring moments with great ease. The fact that some of his actors appear in multiple roles does not take away from the brilliance of the production.
Frankfurter Neue Presse
The fast pace of the production becomes apparent in the very first scene – the group of flags is quickly transformed into the Earl’s bed. After he has accidentally hanged himself during a sex game, the man is practically pushed through a wall and then the fireplace turns into a crematorium, trees are slid onto stage from the sidelines and a lawn is put down; the salon offers more than you might expect at first glance. In addition to the diverse music in the background, ranging from classic to hip-hop, and the many dance scenes, there are also video projections (for example, the 13th Earl of Gurney’s dead body or flashes of energy similar to those in Star Wars) and in the end, even aliens appear to say hello. Monty Python meets Oscar Wilde.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung