CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, 4Star****, London, To 25 02

by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
Adapted by Marilyn Campbell & Curt Columbus.
4 Stars ****

The Brockley Jack Studio, 410 Brockley Road, London SE4 2DH to 25 February 2017.
Tues – Sat 7.45pm.
Runs 1 hr 30 mins No interval.

TICKETS: 0333 666 3366
Review: William Russell 9 February.

A masterly adaptation

This dramatisation by Marilyn Campbell and Curt Columbus is far from all of Crime and Punishment, but the essence of the story is there as a result of masterly piece of editing. It has turned Dostoyevsky’s sprawling masterpiece into an extremely effective three actor drama. Dostoyevsky will not be turning in his grave.

Characters have been eliminated, diversions in the plot ignored. It matters not. The essential story of how the student Raskolnikov, brilliant, intelligent, poor and devoted to his family commits a double murder of people he regards as insects – he wants the money to help his family – is all there.

Director Ross McGregor has staged it simply, used sound and lighting to dramatic, at times almost cinematic effect and secured a splendid performance from Christopher Tester as the tormented Raskolnikov. Faced with playing everyone else Christina Baston and Stephen MacNiece rise to the occasion, switching character by dropping a coat, adding a shawl, donning a hat and managing to be completely convincing. One never gets the feeling of actors showing off as sometimes happens when they play multiple parts.

But the evening does belong to Mr Tester, haggard, whey faced, impassioned, tormented by what he has done, yet unashamed of having killed someone so vile. We follow his twists and turns as pursued by the police inspector who knows he must be the killer of the admittedly vile old woman money lender and her sister, and his falling in love with Sonia, forced into prostitution to support her family, whose father he has helped. It is a story of redemption; the policeman, a man of unexpected sensitivity, the student and the girl are all trapped by the society in which they live and are looking for something better, some salvation. The story of Lazarus who rose from the dead is repeatedly told as the events unfold and confession made and sentence served. The evening grips from start to finish and is, unlike so many Russian dramas, blessedly short and concise.

Sonia: Christina Baston.
Porfiry: Steohen MacNeice.
Raskolnikov: Christopher Tester.

Director: Ross McGregor.
Movement Direction: Will Pinchin.
Costume: Ross McGregor.
Lighting Design: Karl Swinyard.
Scenic Artist: Luke Ridge
Sound Designer: Gareth Kearns.

2017-02-10 10:21:39

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