Howard Barker wants theatre to be an ordeal but this polished production by Robyn Winfield-Smith is anything but. Winfield-Smith encases Barker’s meaty poetry in cool performances and keeps this philosophical piece to a tight tempo.
Hermione Gulliford (Sverdlosk), Mark Tandy (Lot), Justin Avoth (Drogheda) and Vincent Enderby (The Waiter) in Lot and His God at the Print Room, London Photo: Tristram Kenton
Lot and his wife have been told to pack their bags by the angel sent to destroy Sodom. Justin Avoth as the avenging individual burns with a fierce intensity that makes his own descent into Lot’s wife’s bed even more acute. Mark Tandy’s Lot is more circumspect, he is cool in the face of his impending fate, both interrogating and searching to understand God’s will.
Hermione Gulliford as Sverdlosk - “the wife of Lot has her own name incidentally” - is as poised as a ballerina en pointe. Her intelligence is sharper than her designer suit but she does not use it to manipulate - her betrayals are sacrosanct because they are sanctioned by her husband, just as the angel’s are by God.
Barker’s language rolls around the space, verbose but lyrical.
Winfield-Smith has punctuated his free-wheeling speeches perfectly - pointedly maximising their force.
Keeping within The Print Room’s fine tradition of beautifully designed productions, Fotini Dimou has created a fine podium for these meditations to be played out on.