Monday, 27 April 2009

The Dead Ride Fast

The third years performance of The Dead Ride Fast, adapted from Howard Barker's The Possibilities and The Last Supper opened this evening underneath the main stage of the theatre down in the depths of the old storage basement striped, for this occasion, of a generation's lost property and dramatically turned into a highly claustrophobic cell.

The work felt a little uneven but some strong performances from Aristos as the Emperor's groom, Ny and Anthony as reunited lovers and Alain as a Tango dancing Polish torturer, kept things moving along, whilst the installation feel of the shared space helped create a visceral reality for the audience.

Barker's a tough cookie and the philosophical tautness of the characters' thought, language and counter intuitive action at times seems to fox the cast - but with more show confidence and continued attention on articulating the complexity of the arguments the work is bound to grow.

For me the most coherent scene was of a family of weavers, trenched in close confinement during the shelling of their city, barely able to risk putting their heads above the parapet, let alone make a run for the basic commodities of wool and water that will enable them to survive the barbarism. Being underground with them, the blast of war in our ears and debris and dust falling around us created an unnerving experience. A moment where the architecture of the space complimented absolutely the relentlessness of the action.

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