But Aztikeria Teatro has almost killed the piece stone dead. Played out on a sterile set, with an uninventive lighting design and an occasionally juddering sound scape echoing menacingly at crucial points, there is little of the raw emotion and atmosphere that really should hang tantalisingly in the air. The truth is that the play never really gets going, and when the opening scene fails to gain any momentum, our expectations are immediately dashed after a strong starting image.
It all plods along in an awfully dull and unengaging manner, and there is a sloppiness to the production that wreaks of unprofessionalism. I cannot excuse the ridiculously loud backstage noises: rustles, whispers, clanging, sighs and even a full-blown conversation which competed with the on-stage dialogue. Distracting clicks and squeals are provided by a crew member with a camera just behind the audience - can someone please inform him that this is what the technical and dress rehearsals are for?
The cast fare slightly better. Anna Kova is controlled and shows occasional subtlety, and Anastasia Telkova has great potential, swapping characters with relative ease, and trying in vain to pepper the piece with some meaning and inject scenes with heightened passion. However, Alfonso Pinker comes off worst, seeming unsure and disinterested and distinctly lacking the conviction to re-evaluate his performance after sporadically energetic moments. Telkova, although rather muted at first, is the sole reason for the awarding of a second star, and it is a pity that her talents are wasted in such a dreary flop.
Perching myself on the front row, I found it unbelievable that they all suffered from inaudibility, surprising that this piece offered so much and delivered so little, and disappointing that such a valuable opportunity had been squandered in this way. Tossing and turning uncomfortably in my seat, heaven only knows what Strindberg was doing in his grave.
- Adam Elms