In the dark before the curtains are raised the soothing voice of Sophocles tells us that we are to prepare ourselves for some poetry; it will be hard, but all we need to do to enjoy it, is to ‘adjust to its frequency’. No wiser piece of advice could be given, when heading into Pier Paolo Pasolini’s elegiac tragedy. Fabrication is a beautiful piece of work but it definitely takes time to sink into Pasolini’s baroque style.
A darkly woven tale of self proclaimed regicide, Fabrication charts the disintegration of a father whose relationship with his son is poisoned by the tormented memories of an ominous dream.
It is undoubtedly a daunting play in which long image heavy monologues mingle with snatches of normal conversation that perpetually teeter on the surreal. But Lucy Bailey’s complex production more than matches this densely layered text, fully committing to both the most poignant and ridiculous moments of Pasolini’s vision.
Jamie McKendrick’s version is intelligent and lyrical, and peppered (thank God!) with shards of wit. Mike Britton’s hellish gravel pit stage impresses both a sense of wealth and discomfort onto its voyeuristic audience. In fact this is a production which reeks of class; with a strong whiff of Federico Fellini in the classical elegance of the costumes. This pose is carried through to the hilt by a compelling cast, led with remarkable integrity by a virile Jasper Britton.
Fabrication is not an easy night at the theatre, but it’s an intellectually penetrating one. If this kind of difficult, classy work is what we are to expect from the newly opened Print Room, artistic directors Lucy Bailey and Anda Winters are posed to make some real waves with this powerful new venue.