Tag Archives: Fyodor Dostoyevsky

REVIEW: The Brothers Karamazov – Tron Theatre, Glasgow

Four central performances of considerable strength mark Richard Crane and Faynia Williams’ revived production of Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov as the highlight of the Tron Theatre’s 35th anniversary season.

Notoriously difficult to translate, thought to be un-stageable and widely regarded as one of the greatest achievements in world literature, it is a daunting task indeed to take Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s 900 page masterpiece and turn it into a play. To distil its grand themes onto a 100 minute running time, would seem like utter madness, but that is exactly what Crane and Williams have managed to do.

While impossible to reproduce the detail of the novel, or tackle all of its philosophical questions, in sticking to its most major ethical debates: faith, free will and, of fundamental importance to the work, familial relationships, this ground-breaking adaptation manages to leave its mark and provoke discourse.

The performances are quite literally grounded in the earth on the functional, compact, multi-layered circular set which is beautifully lit by Sergey Jakovsky’s lighting design.

The quartet of actors alternate roles within the play, while also delivering fundamental characterisations of the four brothers. Sean Biggerstaff (Ivan), Tom England (Alyosha), Thierry Mabonga (Dmitry) and Mark Brailsford (Smerdyakov) gel perfectly together and the differences between the four are clearly marked and beautifully realised. Biggerstaff (Ivan) particularly shines in his though-provoking speech as the Grand Inquisitor to Alyosha as Christ as does the mercurial Mabonga in his portrayal of Dmitri’s self-destruction.

This striking adaptation perfectly mixes the classic with the contemporary and lingers in the memory long after the lights go down.

Runs until 28 October 2017 | Image: Contributed

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub at: http://www.thereviewshub.com/the-brothers-karamazov-tron-theatre-glasgow/

REVIEW: Crime and Punishment – Citizens Theatre, Glasgow

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The sheer audacity to even attempt a stage adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s literary classic Crime and Punishment is utterly reflective of the theatre within which it is receiving its world premier. At the core of The Citizens is an artistic vision which has never shied away from the difficult, never patronised its audience and season after season delivers innovation and originality to its patrons along with a healthy dose of theatrical madness.

This new adaptation by Chris Hannan eschews Dostoyevsky’s complex narrative and numerous sub-plots in favour of a clear central storyline, whilst still managing to give full weight to the big existential issues of the novel. The drama is also complimented by an atmospheric score by Macedonian composer Nikola Kodjabashia and a pared back design by Colin Richmond.

The ensemble are of the utmost quality, ably led by Adam Best. Best perfectly encapsulates Raskolnikov’s emotional turmoil as he descends into darkness and re-emerges into the light.

As with much of the work at The Citz, the piece manages to do what all great art should – to provoke debate. The moral and philosophical argument of whether it is ever justifiable to take a life for an ideological purpose is as far from being agreed upon and as hotly debated as it ever was.

Go along to question, to be inspired and challenged as well as entertained – yet another hit for The Citz.

Crime and Punishment runs at the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow until September 28, after which it will transfer to Liverpool Playhouse, October 1-19; and then to the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh from October 22 to November 9.

For more information, visit – www.citz.co.uk

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Photo Credit – Tim Morozzo