Nancy Meckler has created a fantastic adaptation of Strindberg’s Dance of Death. This wonderfully black comedy is a roller coaster of emotion from start to finish!
The story follows through the ‘Rounds’ of Alice and Edgar’s failing marriage. The rounds are announced before each scene changed, complete with boxing ring bell! Edgar is ill and Alice cannot wait for him to die and the turmoil of the 25 years she has spent with him to be over. Her cousin Kurt visits them on the island, and causes not only many other secrets to come out of the woodwork but the arguments between the two to spiral further out of control.
The silence at the beginning of the show is palpable, and it’s amazing how the actors keep your attention on them. When they do speak their voices are clear and precise, making the arguments and snide comments even more cutting. As the play goes on the jokes get more and more sinister and it is difficult to know who the real villain is in this show. I feel that that this is the point that they are making; that there is never one person to blame for things going wrong.
The set is in a circle with very dark and depressing furniture which adds to the sense of despair. When a door is opened the lights would open up but whenever action was happing in the house itself the lights would dim to the circle. Giving the impression of the prison that Alice describes during the show. All the actors are on stage at all times, but do go out of scenes from time to time and stand in the corner of the stage observing, this adds to the dark and gives each of the characters a kind of vulnerability.
The actors are incredible and their energy onstage is what keeps the confusing plot line interesting and captivating. I’d highly recommend this to any lovers of dark comedy and impressive acting. 4/5
Review written by Charlotte Claydon.
Play Strindberg was on at the Theatre Royal Bath from Thursday 11th September until Saturday 11th October. For more information on future Theatre Royal Bath productions, visit here…