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'Woyzeck in Winter' review or 'Is your voice warmed up?'

Woyzeck in Winter (from Büchner’s Woyzeck and Schubert’s Winterreise) Barbican Theatre, 14th September 2017



Test your strength on Büchner’s ‘Woyzeck’! Cut it up, tear it into tiny pieces, bolt a sturdy frame around the edges; do all that you dare, but ‘Woyzeck’ will always hold onto its inner ‘Woyzeckness’. This play – a tightly coiled black ball of grief, testosterone, yearning and exhaustion – was an unfinished fragment when Büchner died aged 23 yet, despite its fragile structure, it is a freakishly robust piece of theatre. It probably shouldn’t have survived over the years (Büchner started working on it in 1836) but, unlike the broken soldier at the centre of this story, ‘Woyzeck’ endures.
Director and adaptor Conall Morrison has chosen to weave Schubert’s ‘Winterreise’ into Buchner’s tale of a soldier driven mad by trauma and betrayal. This ambitious reworking probably shouldn’t work: it sounds a little fussy, a bit ‘high art darling’ (try explaining this one to your friends without…

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