The Soul Of Wittgenstein
Reality Rating: 5/5
Fidget Factor: 0.2
Literature. Language. Love.
Companions forced together by circumstance. Professor Ludwig Wittgenstein finds an unexpected friendship in cockney soldier, John Smith as he tends to him in hospital. Sharing a love for learning and literature provides these two obverse character’s with an exclusive bond.
Wittgenstein can’t comprehend that young John Smith has never been taught how to read, ‘words are all we have’. He embarks on a mission to have Smith literate before leaving the hospital, starting with the light reading of War and Peace. It may be too much for Smith who thinks his mother’s 5th sense is ‘woman’s ignition’, perhaps starting with the alphabet is an easier feat.
War is forgotten during the time we spend with these two lost souls, we only return to the bigger picture when a raid alerts towards the end of the piece. Perhaps the mention of Charles Dickens’, A Tale Of Two Cities, had more than just a literary lesson, ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’. Wittgenstein’s stern exterior is broken down when he realises he might lose his new found friend, irate and scared, we start to see a softer, more sensitive side to this stubborn man. Understanding Smith has never experienced a first love, Wittgenstein offers to take him to a ladies parlour, after merriment and a failed attempt at lust, Smith and Wittgenstein silently realise they are all they need for one another.
Ben Woodhall performs with euphoric ease, from the instant we are introduced to John Smith he has identity, an instant personality and authenticity. Director, Dave Spencer, ensures the interaction between the two characters is constantly playful, creating a graceful harmony which lends itself to the events of the play.
Ron Elisha has loaded his script with delightful quotes, ‘life doesn’t always make dollars and cents’. Focusing a piece around literature, it is obvious Elisha has researched and developed the script with eloquent detail. Sensational writing provides a strong backbone for this production of The Soul Of Wittgenstein. Every unit of this production was faultless. Atmospheric lighting, cleverly structured sound, talented actors and robust direction makes this play hugely successful. A production which leaves it’s audience elevated with a passion for the piece, analysing every section and spurring on our creative urges.
During this five star production there was only one thing that niggled the audience, when John moves from hospital to the gardens, we see his second leg – up until this point, the character has convincingly lost his leg. This was the only moment during the piece where our suspense of disbelief was broken.
The Soul Of Wittgenstein will have you discovering love, not in words but the type which can only be shown. An uplifting tale of hope and tenderness amid war and death. Powerful and extremely moving, this production is an absolute must see. It’s worth missing the current bun (sun) shine for.
Click for Tix: @King’s Head
Time: 60 Minutes
Running: 19 JUL 16 ► 26 Aug 16
♥ Thank you to Jennifer Davis for the invite