I Am the Wind, Young Vic, London
Friday 13 May 2011
I wonder if I understand Jon Fosse's play. What I do know on my pulses is that the 70 minutes of Patrice Chéreau's production at the Young Vic constitute some of the greatest theatre I have ever witnessed. Three men in a boat? No – two men on a sailing vessel. Or maybe one man divided. They are called, slightly irritatingly, The One and The Other and they are played flawlessly by Tom Brooke and Jack Laskey.
The proceedings begin when Tom Brooke collapses and needs to be lifted and held for quite a long time by Jack Laskey in a pieta position. They talk to each other as if out of time, in a rapturously rhythmic and beautiful translation by Simon Stephens. Anyone who has had to talk him or herself out of suicide will recognise the truthfulness of Fosse's writing. "I didn't want to/I just did it." The play rips reality apart in taking it from that very peculiar point that the unimaginable has been more than imagined. It's been followed through. "But you were so afraid it would happen." And it seems it did.
Tom Brooke looks hollowed out like a super-sensitive Halloween turnip. Jack Laskey is acutely moving as The Other – he seems to know in advance the impulses of his (possibly) alter ego and to be exhausted from the agonising responsibility of talking him out of what is a deadly foregone conclusion. The production is breathtakingly beautiful. The boat lifts and tilts and water gushes and swarms underneath it. The superb spare set – what is it with the Young Vic and water? – is by Richard Peduzzi and the lovely rippling light is by Dominique Bruguière.
The antiphonal to-and-fro between the men and the extraordinary tenderness of their messed-up mutuality are a thing of wonder. There is an extraordinary moment where, though (I'm assuming) dead, Brooke rises sodden and Laskey fights to remain sane. The funny thing is that it does not feel as homoerotic as you might think. The writing and the direction suggest that though they may, at one level, be conjoined selves, each is unutterably lost in his individual loneliness. I have never liked Fosse's work before (I am the critic who said that his forename was pronounced "Yawn" for good reason). I take it back. This is a great piece of international co-production and further proof that the Young Vic is one of our great producing theatres.
To 21 May (020 7922 2922)
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant