THEATRE / Avvakum and Carmina Burana - St Paul's Church, London W6

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The Gardzienice Theatre Association from Poland has taken over the cavernous nave of St Paul's Church to present two overwhelming dramatic fantasies. One is based on the life of Archpriest Avvakum (the 17th-century Russian Orthodox heretic, who was burnt at the stake); the other on the medieval erotic poem sequence Carmina Burana. The company's style combines inventive musical and visual design with an intense sense of occasion created by the setting. Words (some English, some Polish) and plot (random) are secondary.

In Avvakum the actors cavort and stumble about the stage assembling city towers and scaffolds from wooden axles and ladders. Their Russian Orthodox chants suck atmosphere from the hollow vaults of the church building. In Carmina Burana, framed around the love story of Tristan and Isolde, the stage is dominated by an enormous wheel of fortune upon which the lovers are spun like martyrs.

The company's folk choral harmony is continuous throughout both plays. If you go to the theatre to be surprised into thought and startled into feeling, you must go to St Paul's Church tonight.

One more performance tonight. Tickets: 081-741 8701.

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