a great time for Bardophiles. The World Shakespeare Festival is
ensuring that Will is everywhere, on TV, radio, theatre, in analyses,
discussions and productions across the country. None are likely to be as
impressionistic as The Dark Side of Love, which
brings together young performers from London and Brazil in a
collaboration between the RSC, the Roundhouse and the London
International Festival of Theatre.
the beginning of this promenade production in the atmospherically
dark underbelly of the the Roundhouse, the audience roams around the
outer ring of the Hub, while performers present snippets in the many
niches around the space. Some of the pieces are Shakespearean, while others
offer more modern thoughts about love and death, in English,
Portuguese, Italian and German. So far, so bizarre.
once the audience is gently shepherded into the central performance
space, the production takes off with a multi-media assault on the
senses. There's a feeling of having walked into the middle of a
dramatic painting that is coming to life. There's Ophelia, and over
there Romeo and Juliet, and Desdemona, all drenched in blood, the
embodiment of the doomed love that infuses Shakespeare's
ethereal and edgy, traditional and modern, The Dark Side of
Love gathers the various strands into an extremely
satisfying whole, with no dissonance between the language of
Shakespeare and the language of today's streets. Direction by Renato
Rocha, music by Jules Maxwell and choreography by Ella Robson
Guilfoyle are all beautifully interdependent, while Georgia Lowe's
design is sumptuously bloody.
young performers from the UK and Brazil are quite simply fabulous,
never missing a beat. It's a feast of music, dance, projections and
lighting, all coming together for a thought-provoking production
which deconstructs the darker relationships in Shakespeare's plays
and explores young love in a way that is as relevant today as it was
four centuries ago.
Dark Side of Love could very easily have slipped into
pretension. The young performers' intensity and excellence ensure
that this piece stays on the right side of that line.