LOVE IS MY SIN
by William Shakespeare adapted by Peter Brook.
Rose Theatre KT1 1LB To 16 January 2011.
Sat .30pm Sun 5pm.
Runs 50min No interval.
TICKETS: 0871 230 1552.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 14 January.
Peter the great at work in minature.
Shakespeare’s Sonnets range through a variety of raw human emotions. As, for just three days at Kingston-upon-Thames’ Rose Theatre, Peter Brook displays in this arrangement of selected sonnets from his Paris CICT/Bouffes du Nord Theatre. For all its often quiet elegance, the piece voyages through the fiery stages of a single relationship.
The 154 poems were published when Shakespeare was in his mid-forties. It’s a fair bet Michael Pennington and Natasha Parry could give a few years to the author, but their maturity adds to the sense of “remembrance of things past”, the loss and change time brings – with, during the rift at the piece’s centre, a sense of mortality.
The Rose’s spacious stage gives room for distance to develop physically and emotionally, while the slow entrance and exit, accompanied by Franck Krawczyk on accordion (and keyboard on occasions during the piece), with the few tables and chairs laid-out across the stage, gives the sense of a re-meeting in what could be a café on some strada or piazza.
Parry has an intensity and focus that packs emotional energy within vocal restraint and deliberate movement. At the pair’s greatest distance, she’s a black-coated figure just seen on the edge of light. Brook regular Bruce Myers originally performed the piece with her. It was probably, in truth, a better balance. Which isn’t to say Pennington attempts to steal the show.
Yet this leading classical actor expresses a wide range of feeling, with apparent effortlessness even when his voice moves into moments of extremes. The vocal richness suddenly appears in the air, with piercing agony and moments of ironic (even sarcastic) bitterness. His style has always involved an intelligence arguing through speech, which suits Sonnets that are shown to be as full of developing thought as any of the plays’ soliloquies.
There are occasional looks between the two, sharp as arrows. Or a shared line brings a sudden sense of connection. And, movingly, around the love that speaks its very varied name, there’s the sense of the poems themselves overcoming time – which seems to flow fast in this brief but beautiful piece.
Performers: Natasha Parry, Michael Pennington.
Musician: Franck Krawczyk.
Director: Peter Brook.
Lighting: Philippe Vialatte.