UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL
Stephen Moriaty at Christ Church
Glen Berger's fascinating, multi-layered monologue follows a rather dull Dutch librarian as he sets off in pursuit of a mystery borrower, his battered Baedeker returned 113 years late.
With slides and a flip chart, he details his quest [“not riveting but interesting”] to track down the man who left a laundry ticket in the book, just one of dozens of neatly labelled clues.
It soon becomes clear that “A.” is Ahasuerus, the Wandering Jew, condemned to stay on his feet until Our Lord returns to the earth. And equally obvious that the Librarian will wander with him, obsessively determined to meet the mystery man and claim his fine on the overdue guide book.
In Stephen Moriaty's impressive performance, our Dutchman with his date stamp and his “twisty mystery” is humourless and cold at first, but as the character develops, he seems a confused and forgetful sleuth, as his words become more confessional and confidential.
This production, directed by Audrey Cooke, was not helped by the formal staging in Christ Church. I longed for a more intimate encounter with this intriguing character, for the lecture to become a shared experience.