Now We Are Pope
Frederick Rolfe in Venice
All Reviews
play synopsis and background

"Annus's performance elicits sympathy, the sadness behind his angry words making the unnaturalistic dialogue work"
pdf version

"insightful performance" "wonderfully believable character"
Everything Theatre
pdf version
Now We Are Pope; Frederick Rolfe in Venice, by Martin Foreman

An intense one-man play is like Marmite - you either love or hate it. Here is every review we have come across of Now We Are Pope; some include reviews to the companion plays Angel and Tadzio Speaks . . . . Production dates:

Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 18 - 23 August 2014
Etcetera Theatre, Camden, 8 - 13 July 2014
The London Theatre, 18 - 23 March 2014

They liked it

"Christopher Annus portrays Rolfe with an effective characterisation of the sometimes endearing, mostly frustrating, bumbling man. His constant rolling up and fumbling with cigarettes never to be smoked represents a man unable to see anything through to the end; reflecting Annus's entertaining accounts full of blame for the people who "prevented" his success in life."

"Beneath the anger and frustration of the character, Annus gives his audiences glimpses of an intense vulnerability. His outwardly irate calls to Rolfe's young manservant betray a fear of abandonment and solitude which juxtaposes the frustrated ranting just enough to make it convincing."

"words that carry the audience into the turbulent and
Christopher Annus as Frederick Rolfe
Christopher Annus
as Frederick Rolfe
"troubled minds of Foreman's wonderfully believable characters"       March 2014       pdf version

"provides an example of that rare, exhilarating sort of Fringe theatre which has assumed added value as historical research or literary criticism"
Tychy       August 2014       pdf version

"the Frederick Rolfe (Christopher Annus) we see before us is a self-pitying rogue, who has fallen on hard times and won't accept any responsibility for this. He shuffles around the stage in a pair of socks with obvious holes in them, bemoaning his circumstances thus far, rolling cigarettes which he never manages to smoke. The tobacco and matches tumble to the floor, seemingly unnoticed by Frederick, who is too busy ranting and raving to see. This act underlines his wretchedness and his apparent impotence in doing anything by himself."

"Annus's performance elicits sympathy, the sadness behind his angry words making the unnaturalistic dialogue work within the context of his character. As Frederick shouts for his servant, we're never completely sure whether the boy is in the room, picking things up and fussing around him, or if he's elsewhere. This ambiguity works well and further underlines Frederick's loneliness. He has a good patter and interesting stories - possibly invented fantasies - to share, but ultimately, he's more vulnerable than he would admit."       July 2014       pdf version

"Christopher Annus rants with powerful bitterness in a performance that captures the miserable circumstances in which Rolfe found himself at the end of an unfulfilled life. The "arrows of outrageous fortune" seem to hurt as much as those in St Sebastian's body. The rasping timbre of his voice has appropriately death-rattling qualities and is sustained throughout the play."       August 2014       pdf version

"Martin Foreman has written and directed two short one-man plays (combined they come in at under two hours with an interval), each of which stands alone as a distinct and intriguing story, and both of which share some weighty themes. Since the characters themselves are
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Founded in London in 2013, based in Edinburgh since 2014, Arbery Productions is an occasional group of theatre creatives with a track record of successful productions.

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deeply religious men, their preoccupations - the eternal conflict between body and soul, the existence of God, their spiritual struggle, and so on - naturally revolve around religion. Equally naturally, there's little room for humour, but the performances of Christopher Annus (Now We Are Pope) and especially of Christopher Peacock (Angel) are for the most part engaging."       August 2014       pdf version
"performed with a real warmth and humour by the gruff and expressive Christopher Annus"
What's Peen Seen review no longer active

Not so keen

"Now We Are Pope, with Christopher Annus taking the stage as the cantankerous old Rolfe, settles into the poetic language more naturally. Annus is largely to credit for this, as his raspy voice and more grounded performance balances out the languid monologue. The delusion the old man wraps himself in, the paranoia and the misanthropic disdain seeps into every word. Yet this repetitious self-pity and blame needs to be edited down. As in the real world, it can get tiresome listening to someone's tale of martyred woe."       July 2014       pdf version

"I liked that these pieces were challenging, and charged headfirst into the tricky areas of religion and sexuality. Unfortunately, the structure and execution weren't strong enough to really connect with this reviewer." (a different reviewer from above)       July 2014       pdf version

"Widely described as an eccentric and argumentative man, Rolfe was obviously a difficult character, but by making him so utterly unlikeable, Foreman and Annus run the risk of losing their audience entirely." (a different reviewer from above)       July 2014       pdf version

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