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Crave/Illusions


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  

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