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The Round Dance

Published Thursday 18 March 2004 at 11:10 by Gareth Evans

There have surely been few better marriages of subject with setting than this wonderfully realised and thoroughly pleasurable site-specific adaptation of La Ronde. Transposing Schnitzler’s erotic relay from its Viennese origins to the period dress of Victorian London - the perfect milieu for an examination of hierarchical sexual powerplay, hypocrisy and ennui - is one thing. Staging it in the brick corridors and circular central playing area of this Victorian railway shed prompts an even more potent reading.

Rebecca McCutcheon fashions her intimate decalogue of sexual liaisons - each a moment of seduction, from prostitute to lord and back again - in remarkable harmony with the locale, not wasting a gesture or sightline. Atmospheric lighting and scoring add texture, while the wheeled bed at the production’s heart, a transport of delight and despair, provides the platform for the superb ensemble. Jocelyn Baker, Cassie Friend and Scott Frazer number among the skilled cast, all of whom play multiple roles entertainingly and with much flair.

The world conjured up is one in terrible tension, between concealment and exposure, desire and deceit, economic aspiration and social/gender restriction. The painfully enduring and often dark truths at the play’s heart are conveyed - in a diamond sharp translation - with real vigour and conceptual precision. What goes around might come around but rarely as satisfyingly as this.

Production information

Roundhouse, Undercroft, London, February 17-March 12

Arthur Schnitzler, translated by Charles Osborn
Rebecca McCutcheon
Angels in the Architecture and Full Circle
Jocelyn Barker, Martha Collins, Ryan Ellsworth, Cassie Friend,
Scott Frazer, Nicholas Priedeaux
Running time:
1hr 45mins

Production information displayed was believed correct at time of review. Information may change over the run of the show.

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Run sheet

King's Head, Islington London
January 24-February 15 2014