Monday, 9 September 2013

Crime and Punishment

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
Four stars
From the moment the ten-strong cast of Dominic Hill's mighty staging of 
Dostoyevsky's epic novel step onto the wide-open, bare-walled stage, 
there's a gloriously self-conscious theatricality to everything that 
follows. It's not just the way the actors mill about, putting on bits 
of costume or plucking at the array of musical instruments that line 
the back wall before coming to order with a powerful rendition of a 
Russian orthodox Psalm. It's more to do with the way Adam Best's 
bald-pated Raskolnikov addresses the audience from the off, laying bare 
his poverty-stricken intentions of murdering a  greedy pawn-broker as 
some kind of act of rebellion. When Raskolnikov declaims, the ensemble 
become witness, conscience and confessor as much as the voices of the 
very private revolution in his head.

Chris Hannan's vivid adaptation for this co-production between the 
Citizens, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse and the Royal Lyceum, 
Edinburgh may put Raskolnikov's personal torment to the fore, but he 
also recognises that the story is a mainstream psychological thriller 
and detective yarn as much as an existential quest for redemption. This 
comes through George Costigan's portrayal of tenacious cop Petrovich, 
who at times resembles a Russian gentleman Columbo.

Hill's staging is magnificently fluid, aided as he is by Colin 
Richmond's design, Chris Davey's lighting, Lucien MacDougall and 
Benedicte Seierup's movement and, especially, the dissonant junkyard 
chorales of Nikola Kodjabashia's score. The depth, dimensions and light 
and shade of the stage pictures during the ensemble scenes resemble 
Orthodox religious paintings, and when Raskolnikov finally lets love in 
via Jessica Hardwick's hopelessly devoted Sonya, it's the most painful 
of enlightenments in a fearlessly rich production.

The Herald, September 9th 2013

ends


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