Liquid Theatre, Crave

Review in Issue 16-1 | Spring 2004

Samuel Beckett is enjoying a renaissance at present and his influence can clearly be seen in this sharp revival of Sarah Kane's 1998 play by Liquid Theatre. At the core of this evocative experience is an over-riding musicality within the dialogue, that recalls many of Beckett's 'shorts’ for stage and radio, and the inherent stream of consciousness within the text. Kane's multiple threads of dialogue are made to rise and fall from the four actors like ocean waves, creating a hypnotic montage of memories and emotions. Rarely do the actors overplay the emotion in the lines and a quiet intensity permeates both their dialogue and movement. Like whispers in the dark of the mind the character(s) and their memories invade the audience's consciousness.

Key to this is the restrained use of space by director Matt Peover. The actors sit, stand and move naturalistically around rough chairs and table. Such is the smoothness of this that I fail to notice their movements and instead 'magically’ the actors seem to shift position. As this occurs, Lizzie Powell's lighting design both masks and illuminates the actors with its use of shadow – bathing faces in dullness and bodies in sharp light.

The resultant effect is beguiling, past memories manifested for the moment of a sentence and then buried under the next one. Thus layers are built up with a rising depth of feeling that evokes one's own memories, recollections and connections.

A production that transcends the idea that written texts foreground dialogue and logic, and instead creates a total theatre in and around the written map Kane provides, whilst speaking to the heart.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Feb 2004

This article in the magazine

Issue 16-1
p. 29