Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Lot and His God

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
Four stars


It's hard to gauge exactly who's turned on the most in Howard Barker's
erotically charged reimagining of the Bible's Old Testament myth set in the last
days of Sodom. It might well be Daniel Cahill's horny angel, here named Drogheda
and sent down by God to save Lot and his wife from the destruction that's about
to wipe out the original Sin City. Or it could be Lot's wife Sverdlosk, played
by Pauline Knowles as a faithless drop-dead femme fatale resembling the
shoe-hoarding wife of a deposed dictator on the run, who gets her kicks by
defying Drogheda's celestial intervention.

Cliff Burnett's Lot, meanwhile, works himself into a lather over even the idea of Sverdlosk and
Drogheda embarking on a last-gasp pre-apocalyptic liaison. It might also be worth keeping
an eye on Ewan Somers' silently disdainful waiter who  clearly has ideas above
his station.

Debbie Hannan's production of Barker's late period chamber piece
sets out its store in a decrepit café where anything civilised has been
jettisoned to the dustbin of history, and only the sacred profanities of
language remain. As delivered by Hannan's cast in the Citz's stripped back
Circle Studio space, a near declamatory relishing of Barker's poetry makes for
an electric set of power games to witness.

Seen only once before on a British stage, Barker's play forms part of the Up Close season of work to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the long lost Close Theatre. With a libertine morality
at play, rather than Sverdlosk looking back at the decadent world where she
thrived, in Barker's version, at least, it is God who is left behind and
rendered speechless.

The Herald, October 8th 2015


ends

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