‘Waste’ is set in London and the outskirts of London where we are acquainted with Independent MP, Henry Trebell who is at present proposing an arrangement with the Tories to enable a bill where he hopes to extinguish the Church from the State and to convert the building into new schools. However, there could be problems as Henry has had an affair with a married woman by the name of Amy O’Connell who is now pregnant with his child after they met at the house of Lady Julia Farrant (Lucy Robinson) whose guests included the doddery Lady Mortimer (Doreen Mantle). Amy’s husband, Jamie O’Connell (Paul Harley) a Fenian activist who is just been interned by the incoming Prime Minister informs that his wife has died due to the fact that she has had a butchered “criminal” abortion and states that the baby was not his. As you’d envisage from this, Henry’s plans are beginning to unravel as this would cause immeasurable controversy at the affair could be exposed by the British Press, as such; a meeting is set to discuss this by those who Henry is trying to convince to side with him on this bill. This included Cryril Horsham (Michael Elwyn), Sir Gilbert Wedgecroft (Andrew Havill), Russell Blackborough (Louis Hilyer), Lord Charles Cantiilupe (Gerrard McArthur) and Jamie O’Connell. They are concerned that if they collaborate with Henry and if the situation of the affair with Amy O’Connell is written about in the paper, then their careers could be ruined, so a lengthy meeting goes on. The outcome is not what Henry wants because there is a unanimous “no” vote to work alongside him and Henry knows his career is finished before it has really started. Moreover, as he hasn’t slept that whole night he becomes increasingly depressed. Over the course of this period, Henry’s sister, Frances Trebell endeavours to help her brother through this. On the other hand, it appears that Henry cannot move on from this and when he goes to his bedroom, he shuts the door, locks it and commits suicide as he must have been in such pain and sorrow. At the finale, Henry’s secretary and assistant, Walter Kent (Hubert Burton) is exceedingly emotional where he cries at his desk as he saw Henry as a male role model, with this, he and Frances switch off the lights in a bleak and gloomy empty office and consider if Henry’s legacy will ever be noticed or not. Granville Barker’s narrative is educationally energizing as we are trying to figure out whether Henry could be forgiven for his appalling behaviour and how politician’s personal lives are not exactly private and that they should think of this before they do things.
One found the performances by the company of, ‘Waste’ to be stimulating as there is an effortless amount of clear vocal delivery and sensible movements by the whole company. I’d also like to commend Wendy Spon’s casting as the actors seemed to fit the roles with such tenacity. Charles Edwards is wonderful as disgraced Independent MP, Henry Trebell; especially how his vision for the eradication of the Church of England falters because of his affair with a married woman and getting her pregnant ultimately leads to his demise. Sylvestra Le Touzel is swell as Henry’s sister, Frances; specially to role she plays on her brother’s life in which it is quite strong and as she strenuously tries to prevent her brother from hurting himself you can see that it’s going to be a difficult task, furthermore, this relationship is moving from to start to finish. Olivia Williams is pleasing as Henry’s conquest, Amy O’Connell; chiefly when she is sat in Henry’s office crying as she knows what having a baby out of wed-lock at this time was understood as deplorable and worse of all, having a child in an affair scenario was regarded as sickening and barbaric.
Roger Mitchell’s direction is peachy here as he has conveyed a production that focusses on how we as individuals should remember on our responsibility as professionals and that your personal life can immediately destroy your career as it has done with Henry Trebell, plus, the characterisations were extremely polished. Hildergard Bechtler’s design are interesting as the magnitude of the simplicity of locations for example a stately country house to an office/home of a politician captures the troublesome aspects of Henry’s career departure, as well as, the scenic construction really connects with the dark lighting design by Rick Fisher with panache. Overall, the experience of, Waste’ was a grand one as we can see how theatre censorship and the role of the Lord Chamberlain affected theatre until its untimely death in 1968.