CPT, The Miracles of Marta Manole

Review in Issue 8-3 | Autumn 1996

Based on traditional Romany folk fable, The Miracles of Marta Manole was a gutsy tale of lust, murder and revenge, combining mystical overtones with earthy storytelling. Performed by a cast of four, without scenery, the piece relied on the skill of the actors (armed with various props) to conjure up ambience and setting. Devised by the company, it was ambitious in both thematic and theatrical intent, and clearly derived inspiration from work by the likes of Complicite.

The cast threw themselves into the action wholeheartedly, and much of the playing was admirably evocative – for example a swimming scene in a lake, achieved with only a back-lit sheet. Economy of means such as this relies not just on the actors’ dexterity, however, but also on the strength and clarity of the material, and this was where the piece was flawed. Lacking in focus and sometimes muddled, the themes and issues were not properly drawn out and were barely explored. Moreover, the characterisations were half-formed and superficial, making it difficult to really care what happened to any of the protagonists. This was a great shame given the excellent ensemble playing and the obvious enthusiasm of the company. Perhaps as the material is further developed the themes will be distilled, the characters made more rounded, and the whole piece tightened up.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jul 1996

This article in the magazine

Issue 8-3
p. 23