How goes the old guard American theatrical avant-garde? The international festival asks this question with visits from Elevator Repair Service, the Wooster Group and Lee Breuer.
First up, the ERS has been presenting its impeccable, dry and radically unadorned version of Ernest Hemingway’s first great novel, Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises. Every word spoken is Hemingway’s, and the treatment is much purer, more classical than, say, Shared Experience doing Tolstoy or Charlotte Bronte.
The three-and-a half-hours-plus goes by in a flash: Mike Iveson as Hemingway’s cynical journalist, Jake Barnes, takes us with his dissolute friends from Paris to Pamplona for the fiesta and bullfights, drinking, squabbling, falling in love, living the moment.
Simply staged with cafe tables and chairs, and a stunning bullfight, John Collins’s gently hypnotic production is both a brilliant distillation and a genuine theatrical rendition, with dance moves and a gorgeous performance by Lucy Taylor as the siren socialite Brett Ashley.