Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh 4stars Love, death and everything inbetween fire this inspired double bill by director Ramin Gray's invigorated ATC company, who tour Sarah Kane's free-associative meditation on the painful highs and lows of an obsessive and possibly self-destructive amour to the theatre it was first seen in 1998. That was in a production by future National Theatre of Scotland director Vicky Featherstone. Played fourteen years on in tandem with Cazimir Liske's translation of Russian writer Ivan Viripaev's equally serious dissection of how romance can be the greatest of deceivers, the plays are fascinatingly revealed as mutual flipsides of the same coin. The same four actors line up side by side in each to lay bare things that are more often left unsaid. In Crave, they stand on a platform in pyjamas and nighties, as if what comes out of their mouths over the next forty minutes is some kind of bedtime nightmare. In Illusions, they sit on chairs to tell the story of two elderly couples who, after half a century of marriage, discover things aren't quite what they seem. While the narrative is seemingly lighter and more straightforward in Viripaev's piece, there's a playfulness to both, with Crave peppered with bleakly funny one-liners beyond it's more over-wrought leanings, that look both to Beckett and to R.D. Laing's poetry. There's an unflinching intimacy to both works, which are delivered with few frills but bags of nuanced warmth and passion by a cast featuring Liske himself alongside Derbhle Crotty, Rona Morison and Jack Tarlton. It may not all be easy listening, but in terms of poetic insights into what makes our inner lives tick, it's profound, beautiful and terrifying.
The Herald, May 29th 2012 ends