Life of Galileo (Young Vic)

I think I might have to admit to being one of those for whom Brecht has never really quite packed the punch it ought to. Look, I get it, I’ve just felt that we’ve never quite ticked at the same rhythm. Case in point – I spent a perfectly enjoyable evening in the company of Rory Kinnear et al in The National’s Threepenny Opera – but it didn’t knock me sideways.

I’m currently engaged in a bit of a love affair with The Young Vic however and if anyone was going to be convert me it was going to be they in combination with Director Joe Wright and a lead role for Brendon Cowell who had so astounded me opposite Billie Piper in Yerma. Marry all of the above with a soundscape designed and orchestrated by Tom Rowlands of The Chemical Brothers and I was actually beginning to rather look forward to this… and I was fully justified.

One of the things I’ve always somewhat disliked about Brecht is the alienation, the reminder of my being an audience member watching artifice… but Wright’s production albeit remaining true to many Brechtian principles – breaking the 4th wall, actors playing multiple roles, puppetry and general inherent silliness – I just didn’t find myself distracted from the narrative. The world was real, and I totally bought it.

Life of Galileo somewhat unsurprising depicts a period in the life of Italian inventor, astronomer and thinker Galileo Galilei as he battles against the entrenched orthodoxy in trying to convince the world that planets revolve around the sun.

In the round staging and a striking visual design only enhance and my only conclusion is that this is the best Brecht I’ve seen.


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