Told by An Idiot, I Weep at my Piano

Review in Issue 11-1 | Spring 1999

Weep at my Piano is a subtle and intelligent meditation on the lives, loves and artistry of three of this century's great creative geniuses – the poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca, the painter Salvador Dali, and the film-maker Luis Bunuel. The play takes Lorca's execution as its starting point, and is constructed from a montage of flashbacks and reminiscences, beginning with Lorca's first meeting with Dali and Bunuel at the Residencia in Madrid in 1923.

Told by an Idiot, directed by Paul Hunter, masterfully handle a series of biographical and imagined events from the artists’ lives, to create a show that captures something of Lorca, Dali and Bunuel's creative spirit whilst avoiding narrative reconstruction. Refreshingly for a devised work, the style and content is perfectly suited. The rich vein of lyrical poeticism and dark symbolism that runs through each artist's work is beautifully suggested by the abstract and richly imagistic performance style. What is most striking about the show is the confident ease with which such dense and complex material is handled.

Hence, alongside the quirky comic mayhem that one expects from the company, the piece has a marvellously gentle and meditative quality. The dream-like style in which the scenes are played might make the play seem a little slight at first, but the company's gentle and unassuming approach conceals hidden complexities, and images from this piece resonate long after the performance in over.

The cast of Richard Clews, Stephen Harper and Hayley Carmichael are all excellent. But it is Carmichael who steals the show. Hot on the heals of her star tum in the Right Size production of Mr Puntilla and His Man Matti, Carmichael (as Lorca) again confirms her place as one of the British stage's leading comic talents.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jan 1999

This article in the magazine

Issue 11-1
p. 23