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Review - The Dream of a Ridiculous Man

Marylebone Theatre

Playing until 20th April 2024

Photo credit: Mark Senior

Review {AD-PR Invite}

Narrated by an unnamed man (Greg Hicks) living in East London, this monologue tells the inner thoughts of the man as he descends into a more and more depressive state before he enters into a poetic dream, where he witnesses the possibility of the goodness in men and how easily they can be corrupted.


Plagued by a series of events that ultimately resulted in the man purchasing a gun that would have been used to end his own life when he reaches rock bottom, the unnamed character has lost all sense of compassion even to the most vulnerable that beckons for his help. Setting the scene, Hicks plays a disgruntled outcast wandering the streets of East London from pub to pub before he is transported to a dream state. In this other worldly tropical island, the inhabitants have a completely different lifestyle, there is no strife, conflict or greed and the air is brimming with innocence. Laurence Boswell’s script is poetic and eloquent, capturing the fundamental differences of the reality in which the man came from and the society he is welcomed into. The contrast and the difference in treatment the man received serve as pivotal turning points in his outlook on life and his desire to reinvent and better himself upon re-entering his daily life.


Hicks is a master storyteller, showcasing the frustration of his character’s life, and then the confusion and admiration for the people he encountered in his dream and finally the remorse for corrupting the dream people that taught him so much. Using effectively three simple props, a suitcase, a lamp and a gun, and his body, Hicks crafts a deep and thought-provoking character and story that take the audience on a journey of discovery.


The set and lighting designed by Loren Elstein and Ben Ormerod, respectively, create a simple and effective canvas on which the narrative is painted. Initially using projections on a black curtain to showcase the various locales of reality, this then takes on more vivid colours as we enter the man’s dream and as he learns about the people he encountered in that state. This ultimately leads to the revelation of the space behind the black veil, filling the originally empty stage with a myriad of decorations and colours.


True to Fyodor Dostovsky’s work, this monologue is a deep and philosophical exploration, deliberately stirring the audience’s perception of what would be considered weird and ridiculous, the concept of being a realist or a dreamer, and how the two are intricately linked and often separated by a single moment of epiphany.



Writer and Director: Laurence Boswell

Set and Costume Designer: Loren Elstein

Lighting Designer: Ben Ormerod

Composer: Harrison White

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