Photographs of Ken Nwosu, Mark Lockyer and Richard Leeming in The Alchemist, 2016


Polly Findlay’s fast-paced production of The Alchemist breathed life into Ben Jonson’s wickedly witty Renaissance satire. Breaking away from a traditional rendition of the play, Findlay’s cast shattered the fourth wall by appearing in their own, 21st century clothes for the final moments on stage. It was a visual twist that added substance to Face’s wry observation that the theatre is itself a trick: ‘this pelf / [...] rests / To feast you often, and invite new guests’ (Act 5, Scene 5, ll. 164–66).

The actors on stage are paid to perform fictions, just as the conning characters of Face, Subtle and Doll do within the play.

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THE ALCHEMIST by Ben Jonson design: Helen Goddard lighting: Charles Balfour director: Polly Findlay
2 June 2016, Stratford-upon-Avon
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Donald Cooper [photographer]
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© Donald Cooper / Photostage

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