Therese Raquin, theatre review
Finborough Theatre, London
Friday 28 March 2014
“Sang et nerfs/Sang et nerfs” sing the excellent chorus at the start of this visceral, darkly imaginative musical version of Emile Zola's 1867 novel in which a torrid, adulterous affair leads to murder followed by the waking nightmare of mutual disgust.
“I simply carried out on two living bodies the same examination that surgeons perform on corpses,” explained Zola. It's hard for a stage adaptation to convey how intensely the story operates on the level of interior physiology.
But the sense that it's at once a moral thriller and a kind of animal experiment comes through powerfully in Nona Shepphard's astute non-naturalistic reworking, while Craig Adams's complex, eloquent score pulls you in with the bold unpredictability of its questing melodic lines and twisted harmonic textures.
On designer Laura Cordery's suitably oppressive evocation of the dusty Parisian haberdasher's shop, the piece is performed with flair and fierce commitment by a company that includes Julie Atherton and Ben Lewis as the homicidal lovers, whose situation harks back to Macbeth and foreshadows The Postman Always Rings Twice, and Tara Hugo outstandingly good as the paralysed old aunt who begins and ends the show murdering her son's murderers again and again with her eyes.
To 19 April; 0844 847 1652
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 This is what happens when you tattoo Charmander on yourself, drunk, and with no experience
- 2 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 3 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 4 The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer has leaked – watch
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a white stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Russian warships in English Channel 'to conduct anti-aircraft and anti-submarine military drills'