Derevo, The Rider

Review in Issue 13-1 | Spring 2001

In their show The Rider and its title, Derevo suggest that the actor is a shifting figure who surfs on changing emotional and political currents: someone who is nothing in themselves, except with an audience, when a persona is adopted or thrust upon them. From the brief programme note I take this to be the kemel of the piece Many of the fleeting images were not original or new: the idea of actor as prostitute, murderer and Christ, the Lady being wooed and marrying the old peasant, and the ceremonial meal at the long table. But the stark staging and use of colour bring a freshness to our eyes, and we have a sense of otherness from the performers' Russian perspective. They can present the Navy, political rallies and dislocation – and avoid cliché, where a British company might drop into stereotype. This creates some arresting moments of lunacy and perspective.

However, a major criticism is that while Anton Adassinski is a talented comic clown with firebrand energy, this is not an ensemble piece, which is a shame since all the performers were strong. At times there was a distinct sense of padding, as presumably the main man was preparing for his next incarnation. Strangely, although this was created in 1992, it felt unfinished.

Essentially a collage of images and following no distinct narrative line, many in the audience were unsure how to react, feeling ill at ease with the obscurity and confusion. Still, the piece is ambitious and in places brilliant. The vitality of the vision and Anton's joy in performing cannot be doubted, but the structure cannot hold what he wants to say.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jan 2001

This article in the magazine

Issue 13-1
p. 24