Friday, August 08, 2008

The Revenger's Tragedy

I’m a bit of a scaredy-cat and avoid violence in entertainment, so the National Theatre’s Revenger’s Tragedy was not for me, so I thought. I only booked to go after the disappointment of Afterlife (all the Revenger’s reviews I read were brilliant – typically my luck to go for the dud instead). I finally saw it last night.

Wow! Interval saw me hurtling forth, highly discombobulated, in search of strong drink – but in a good way. This production is simply sensational. Absolutely fantastically designed and acted, with sublime use of the NT’s revolving stage. The sound and lighting was especially good too.

This is a very louche 80’s Versace sort-of Renaissance Italian court – sharp sexy club clothes; maximalist interiors featuring massive blow-ups of the most salacious bits out of Titian and Veronese. Gender-bending minions and principals in search of perverted sex. Murder and necrophilia. Huge animated skulls. The end of the first act sees the revolve go hyper-drive, with the duke savagely murdered by the protagonist to pounding underground club beats while watching his duchess having very noisy athletic sex with his bastard son. Phew! How very unlike the home life our own esteemed monarchy.

Absolutely wonderfully directed (and co-designed) by Melly Still. It ends this month, so catch it fast!

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