Review: Conquest Of The South Pole At The Everyman

Dean Nolan Photo: Gary Calton
  by Andy Green CONQUEST of the South Pole couldn’t be more different from the Everyman Company’s first outing Fiddler On The Roof. Where Fiddler might have been an unexpected choice, it was an inspired one and produced a magnificent piece of theatre that people are still talking about. Conquest of the South Pole certainly fits more into the stereotypical view that some people have of the Everyman – edgy, requires a bit of thought – this is no Brick Up. As the audience take their seats, a tower is built in the middle of the stage – suitcases on top of a washing machine. Is this is a slightly deranged stagehand or one of the cast? All will become clear. As ever, I don’t want to give too much away but Manfred Karge’s play is about the despondency caused by unemployment, the need for an escape and, in this case, the psychosis. Slupianek  played with a truly commanding performance by Dean Nolan, decides to recreate one of the great triumphs of the 20th century – Roald Admunsen’s expedition to the South Pole – in an attic. White bedsheets, bras and knickers hanging from a washing line form the glacial landscape as Slupianek, Buscher, Braukmann and Seiffert (the aforementioned deranged stagehand) embark on their great adventure. Along the way they pick up a ‘dog’, Frankieboy played with an unnerving intensity by Zelina Rebeiro – it’s difficult to take your eyes off her even when she’s not the centre of the action. Emily Hughes as Seiffert also puts in a captivating performance – almost like a creepy, clockwork clown. All of the cast put in great performances and it just goes to show what a versatile bunch the Everyman Company are. Conquest of the South Pole may not be to everyone’s taste but if you enjoy well-staged, brilliantly-acted, thought-provoking theatre then this is for you.