Ambitious adaptation that’s let down by the fundamentals
This article is from 2012.
Sheffield-based Headlock Theatre Company have transformed Alexander Pushkin’s unfinished 1832 novel Dubrovski into a devised stage piece that mixes a passionate Russian revenge tragedy, an energetic physical staging and a live violin-and-piano soundtrack. After his father is left ruined seemingly on the whim of an old family friend, the young eponymous hero plots his vengeance, only to lose the very thing he was fighting for.
It’s a pitiful story, lucidly conveyed by the young performers as it heads inexorably towards its crushing conclusion. It’s hard not to admire their ambition, and the production’s exciting movement-based sequences really mark it out – a cataclysmic fire scene, all flailing limbs, is particularly effective.
If only the speech clarity and the precision of the acting were on the same level. Lines key to character or plot are sometimes thrown away, the pace often drags, and some of the actors just aren’t convincing in their roles. The staging might be striking, but more fundamental issues let the show down.
theSpace on North Bridge, 0845 557 6308, until 11 Aug, 12.45pm, £7 (£5).