LADY CHATTERLEY’S LOVER
by D H Lawrence adapted by Nick Lane.
Hull Truck Theatre (Studio) 50 Ferensway HU2 8LB To 11 June 2011.
Runs 2hr 10min One interval.
TICKETS: 01482 323638.
Review: Alan Geary 25 May 2011 at Lakeside Arts Centre Nottingham..
Not Hull Truck at its best.
Neat11 (Nottingham European Arts and Theatre Festival) continues with this stage version of D H Lawrence’s most famous novel. It’s fair to say, a lot of the inadequacies of this adaptation, for all over 14 – it’s by Nick Lane, who also directs – derive directly from the inadequacies of the novel, but, sad to say, a few do not.
There’s too big an element of narration, which, fair enough, is done by characters stepping out of the action. But, strangely, the cuckolded Clifford, who wasn’t there, gets to narrate the first and famous sexual encounter between his wife and Mellors.
Karl Haynes’s Mellors is utterly unconvincing: he looks and sounds more like an unsuccessful rent boy than a game keeper. And Clifford Chatterley (Frazer Hammill), who’s supposed to have an engineering background – and this is definitely Lawrence’s fault – comes over rather as Britain’s least convincing coal magnate/leader of men. He’s more like the fascist wing of the Bloomsbury Group in a wheelchair.
There are positives.
Lady Chatterley is well played by Amie Burns Walker. She looks the part, and she speaks as if she’s an upper-class liberal trapped in a sterile marriage. The actors are often good when they’re playing secondary parts: Lady Chatterley’s sister, her father, Mrs Bolton and so on; though Haynes ensures that Michaelis is camped up into a desperate caricature of an Irish playwright.
The set, a bare space surrounded by all the props necessary for the story (a quibble: Sir Clifford and Lady C get to listen to the BBC Home Service over a decade before there was any such thing) is an arresting one. Some original background music by Tristan Parkes is often beautiful, if a bit over intrusive.
Not, it has to be said, Hull Truck at its best.
Lady Chatterley: Amie Burns Walker.
Sir Clifford Chatterley: Frazer Hammill.
Oliver Mellors: Karl Haynes.
Director: Nick Lane.
Designer/Lighting: Graham Kirk.
Music: Tristan Parkes.