Skip to main content

Histoire d'amour

Kings Theatre
Two stars
When a school-teacher spots an attractive young woman on the train, he 
decides there and then that he'll marry her. He gets there eventually 
in Chilean company Teatro Cinema's rendering of Regis Jauffret's 
unrelenting novel, but before that he stalks her, rapes her, beats her 
and violates her in every way imaginable, and that's just on the night 
he first sees her. Beyond this, the man becomes dangerously obsessed 
with the woman he learns is named Sofia, his self-loathing manifesting 
itself in flashes of rage in a blindly self-deluded one-sided courtship 
until, finally, she acquiesces.

This is an ugly little piece of male fantasy wish fulfilment which, in 
Teatro Cinema's hands, becomes a comic book strip cartoon writ large, 
complete with speech bubbles, as actors Julian Marres and Bernardita 
Montero interact with a meticulously synchronised set of animations in 
director Juan Carlos Zagal's production.

The story is told through the man's increasingly brutal interior 
monologue, while, significantly, Sofia barely says a word, made 
voiceless by the man, and indeed Jauffret's, objectification. Instead 
Montero murmurs Sofia’s protest while being flung around the stage in 
gracefully choreographed scenes of psychological and physical abuse. 
Such counterpoints of physical beauty with acts of violence is at odds 
with such an ugly story.

So absurd do the man's justifications for his actions become that at 
one point you think he's going to wake up on the train and realise it 
was all a crazy dream. While there's no doubt that men lust after women 
on public transport, to give such extreme behaviour some kind of 
existential weight does Teatro Cinema's stunningly realised aesthetic 
no favours.

The Herald, August 16th 2013

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Phoebe Waller-Bridge - Fleabag

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a busy woman. The thirty-two year old actress who burst onto our TV screens as writer and star of Fleabag, the tragi-comic sort of sit-com about a supposedly independent woman on the verge is currently overseeing Killing Eve, her new TV drama which she's written for BBC America. As an actress, Waller-Bridge is also filming a big screen project which we can't talk about, but which has already been outed as being part of the ongoing Star Wars franchise.

These are both pretty good reasons why Waller-Bridge won't be appearing in the brief Edinburgh Festival Fringe revival of the original stage play of Fleabag, when it opens next week at the Underbelly, where it was first unleashed to the world in 2013. In her place, Maddie Rice will take on the role of the potty-mouthed anti-heroine after touring Vickie Jones' production for Waller-Bridge and Jones' DryWrite company in association with Soho Theatre. This doesn't mean Waller-Bridge has turned…

The Divide

King's Theatre
Four stars

Everything is black and white in Alan Ayckbourn's new play, a six hour two part epic set in a dystopian future where men and women are segregated from each other following the aftermath of an unspecified plague. Into this landscape, the secret diaries of brother and sister Elihu and Soween are brought to life by Jake Davies and Erin Doherty with a wide-eyed lightness of touch as their hormones get the better of them when they both hit puberty.
Annabel Bolton's production for the Old Vic, EIF and Karl Sydow begins with a TED Talk type lecture that reveals the back story to how things turned out this way. It ends with a sentimental love story designed to tug the heart-strings. Inbetween, there is teenage rebellion aplenty against the regime's institutionalised repression. Liberation comes through art and sex, which, in such extreme circumstances become even greater life forces.

With both plays told through the siblings' diaries alongside ass…