CRIME & PUNISHMENT
Based on the novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
7th - 25th February 2017
Brockley Jack Studio
Adapted by Marilyn Campbell & Curt Columbus
Directed by Ross McGregor
Movement Direction: Will Pinchin
Lighting Design: Karl Swinyard
Costume: Odin Corie
Scenic Artist: Luke Ridge
Props: Gareth Kearns
Set Construction: Spencer Lee Osborne
Sound Designer: Gareth Kearns
PR: Kate Bannister
Poster Photography: Lloyd Warbey
Production Photographer: Davor Tovarlaza
Casting Assistants: Gemma Salter & Cornelia Baumann
Christina Baston as Sonia / Pulcheria / Lizaveta / Alyona
Stephen MacNeice as Porfiry / Marmeladov / Koch / Tradesman
Christopher Tester as Raskolnikov
"Raskolnikov, bright but poor, can't stick at his law degree, can't get paid for his writing and can't make relationships work. He sits in his tiny St Petersburg room, too hot and too cold, and contemplates Napoleon's power and Lazarus's resurrection. Down to his last possessions to pawn for the money to eat, he rationalises his intended murder of the pawnbroker as an improvement of the world, all things considered, a "worthless" human being removed and a "worthy" human being (him, natch) able to participate fully in it at last - the sum of human happiness thus increased.
"If that's the Napoleon aspect of his gnawing ideology, the Lazarus element comes in after the deed (botched of course, Raskolnikov also does in the pawnbroker's sister who happened upon the scene), when the failed student is wracked with guilt, searching, with his not quite lover, pious prostitute, Sonia, for salvation that won't quite materialise, even for a pocket Napoleon.
"Meanwhile, Detective Porfiry keeps dropping by, initially as much to satisfy an intellectual curiosity in this troubled young man, then, as he understands the mind of Raskolnikov more and maps the parallels and divergences with his own, he becomes convinced that he has his killer.
"Sorry about the length there, but even that's a summary of a summary, Dostoyevsky's novel pared back in this adaptation by Marilyn Campbell and Curt Columbus, presented in 90 breathless minutes by Arrows and Traps Theatre Company. If some of the book's layering and complexity is forsaken, well many would say that such concision is exactly what's needed when it comes to 19th century Russian novels.
"Christopher Tester, gaunt, angry, permanently on edge, stalks the space as Raskolnikov, one moment a step away from espousing theories of the master race, the next handing over what little money he has for a funeral. He can't understand why he's where he is in society's pecking order and can't work out what to do about it. Tester, testy in the role, anchors the drama and navigates the torrent of ideas in the text with admirable clarity.
"The other characters are played by Christina Baston and Stephen MacNeice, aided by a few costume changes and one of two ropey accents. Baston clutches her cross in a nunnish habit of virginal white offset by tousled blonde hair, capturing well the paradox of the religious woman forced to sell her body to feed her feckless family. MacNeice is all oily charm as Detective Porfiry, overly invested in Raskolnikov's proto-fascism, but desperate to solve the puzzle of the double murders, if not quite so keen to lock up his suspect. The game's the thing for him.
"It's all very intense and the trio of actors never drop their guard - and, with convincing and imaginative sound design by Gareth Kearns and sure-footed direction by Ross MacGregor, that's not an option. It's not exactly entertaining, but I found myself pondering Raskolnikov's "Napoleon" question with regard to the 2013 Parliamentary vote not to bomb Syria and its reversal in 2015; and also with the current debate about social care funding, particularly the kind of numbers that actuarial science produces. There are plenty of Raskolnikovs around today, though few as bold. The production has hit home."
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ -Gary Naylor - BROADWAY WORLD