Brilliant, disturbing journey on stage in Doncaster into Heart of Darkness

The cast of imitating the dog's innovative new stage adaptation of Heart of Darkness
The cast of imitating the dog's innovative new stage adaptation of Heart of Darkness

An adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness is reimagined as a live graphic novel set in a bleak, dystopian Europe in a fascinating show on tour to Cast, Doncaster.

Theatre company imitating the dog film actors against a green screen on stage and project them on to three overhead screens with backgrounds and effects that look like a graphic novel. It works amazingly well and is highly absorbing.

Scenes are also interspersed with film footage, some featuring parts of Apocalypse Now, the film that moved Conrad’s story to the Vietnam War. At times actors voice over the film’s director Francis Ford Coppola or actor Dennis Hopper, which gives moments of light relief.

The audience also see the cast coming up with the idea for the show, with the action interspersed with discussions of just how you can take a novel with such racist portrayals of black Africans in colonial times and make it acceptable today.

Their answer is to set it in an imagined Europe that disintegrated into chaos after the war, while Africa prospered.

The whole cast are very strong, some portraying multiple characters, and making complex interactions with the cameras to create the image seen on screen.

The show raises lots of questions about imperialism and racism and the legacy of the damage it wreaked that is still felt today on many parts of the world.

Heart of Darkness is at Cast, Doncaster tonight, March 6, and it’s well worth catching this show on tour. Website: www.imitatingthedog.co.uk