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Dance of Death review at Citizens Theatre, Glasgow – ‘impassioned and intimate’

Tam Dean Burn and Lucianne McEvoy in Dance of Death at the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow. Photo: Drew Farrell Tam Dean Burn and Lucianne McEvoy in Dance of Death at the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow. Photo: Drew Farrell
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Unflinchingly bitter, Candice Edmunds re-imagining of Strindberg’s Dance of Death, scripted by Frances Poet in a particularly strident voice, rampages across Graham McLaren’s rough set of sea-weathered boards, placed transverse in the Citizens’ tiny studio space.

The stage is not so much an island, but a platform on which Tam Dean Burn’s Captain and Lucianne McEvoy’s Alice spit and clatter through the night before their silver wedding anniversary.

Edmunds, known for filmic, slick productions such as Dragon and Bright Black as co-artistic director of Vox Motus, here gets down and very dirty with a cast who suit such close-up intimacy with their audience.

In Dean Burn she brings out a twisted presence, his face and physical performance as articulate as any words. McEvoy is more vocal, precise and poised in her movement. Both are more than equal to Andy Clark’s deliberate but emasculated innocent Kurt, Alice’s cousin who arrives unexpectedly and provides their night’s distraction.

Luke Sutherland and Audrey Bizouerne’s music and sound design is a vital framework, fading between the lull of waves and the thrum of the intense dance of retribution between Alice and the Captain, building up to a techno-derived wall of sound.

If this feels like a fragment in its refusal to take a position, it has its wholeness as it finds and describes – without prejudice – a relationship full of vitriol and sorrow. This is a love based on mutual dependency on domestic violence where both parties are protagonists, both victims, feeding on the raw nature and poison of their hate.

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Impassioned, intimate adaptation of Strindberg, that works the brutality to the point of destruction