Skip to content

Review: The Banality of Evil at The Cube Microplex by Worms Theatre Company

The Worms Theatre Company is back with another hard-hitting theatre production to challenge and entertain audiences.

Rating: ★★★★★

By Milan PereraDeputy Editor

Since his acclaimed debut play, Pale Wife, Factory Slug, Limp Man and a Black Hole, Teddy Monroe has been challenging audiences by discussing pressing issues of the day such as climate crisis, dysfunctional families, performative activism and social justice. His latest work, Banality of Evil, certainly doesn’t disappoint but takes this discourse to the next level with slick writing and mercurial performances.

Teddy Monroe is playwright with an artistic credo, and this credo is nothing short of the emancipation of humanity from its self-inflicted illusions. He is not naïve enough to recreate a melange of utopian ideals that may fit in a reliquary rather than in the real world. 

The Worm Theatre collective, which Monroe spearheads, is back with another zinger but with a slight difference. Unlike their previous plays, the recent opus is a collection of tableaux as opposed to a full-length narrative drama. 

The brilliant quartet consisted of Laura Ollerton, Rohan Chopra, Laurence Tuck and Owen Richards, rose to the challenge with aplomb - Henry Kenyon

The packed audience at The Cube Microplex in Kingsdown was taken by surprise with the gusto performance of the opening tableau, TV Sketch featuring Laura Ollerton, Rohan Chopra and Laurence Tuck, that captured the mind-numbing influence of wall-to-wall TV to a tee.

The nine tableaux were standalone pieces that required reflection and passive participation from the audience. The tone of individual segments is less didactic but it remains thought-provoking. Would you eat a baby? How is your relationship with your mother? Does it matter that your bank invests in the arms industry? These and many more penetrating questions are thrown at the audience to make them stir to a brief contemplation.

Ella Strauss’ sterling direction transmuted Monroe’s storytelling to the stage with her uncompromising approach while the lighting by Scarlett Miller and Ben Lamb added a veneer of potency to the actions unfolded on the stage.

The brilliant quartet of cast consisted of Laura Ollerton, Rohan Chopra, Laurence Tuck and Owen Richards, who rose to the challenge with aplomb by seamlessly switching between characters and constituent segments. The delivery was polished, immediate and heartfelt and they didn’t falter once. 

The central theme that runs through all the segments is ‘how the well-balanced individual is insane!’ - Henry Kenyon

The showstopper monologue of Rohan Chopra contemplating the ‘evils’ of the meat industry, where countless innocent sentient beings are put to death, was deeply felt. His nuanced rendition garnered pin-drop silences and raucous laughter from the audience. 

Did not Laura Ollerton shine through the evening?  By switching between accents with disarming ease and breathing life into each character she portrayed each character to a tee. Her dedication to her craft was evident in each segment even at the expense of self-effacement. 

Laurence Tuck’s  A Wank for Posterity is reminiscent of Old Testament alarmism and impending doom neatly delivered with panache while Barclays featuring Laura Ollerton and Owen Richards was rip-roaringly funny capturing the infinite loop of trying to get hold of a ‘real person’ at the bank to speak to.

The central theme that runs through all the segments is ‘how the well-balanced individual is insane!’

Did not Laura Ollerton shine through the evening? - Milan Perera

The artistic vision of Monroe is akin to that of Brecht, in he feels theatre has the power to change perceptions and enable actions. He employs quick wit, chiselled out writing and absurdism in his attempt. 

Monroe is no ‘dreamer’ either. He understands that action must follow words and thus all the proceeds of the ticket sale are put back into community and will be used to sponsor 15 young people from Felix Road Adventure Playground enabling them to attend a professional play, with the goal of inspiring them to create their own work at a later date. His last play, The Last Vagabonds had raised £1500 for environmental charity PRALER.

In 1845, Karl Marx said, ‘Philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.’ Monroe’s opus of a quartet of plays has echoed the above sentiment. Is there a place for theatre in a world galloping towards an all-out annihilation? Perhaps, only if theatre is as engaging and entertaining as The Banality of Evil.      

Featured image:Henry Kenyon

Will you be attending The Cube Microplex soon?