Theatre: It's a kind of magic
STREET OF CROCODILES QUEEN'S THEATRE LONDON
Thursday 21 January 1999
The piece works even better in the current larger space, the sheer height of the stage creating a brooding, shadowy top layer over this phantasmagoric plunge into the creative imagination of Bruno Schulz, the Polish-Jewish author, shot dead by an SS agent in 1942, whose weird stories are the launch-pad for the show. Looking at my old review, I found that I concentrated mostly on the earlier parts of this expressionist, physical-theatre event. Perhaps because I was viewing it with an impressionable child, I was more bowled over this time by the harrowing later stages, scored against searingly bitter-sweet and agonised string music.
The sinister sound of an army patrol punctuates the piece in which the lanky, sensitive Cesar Sarachu once again plays Joseph, the Schulz-surrogate at bay in a dark, totalitarian regime. Books - their vulnerability and transformative powers - are a strong and recurring image. Flapped about, alongside brollies, they become the exotic aviary of the hero's eccentric father. Or, when the outside threat is at its greatest, rows of volumes cascade from the shelves with the frightening speed and force of a long, coiled spring.
My companion said that much of it reminded her of Alice, if with a sadder undertow. The company creates a surreal, balletic world in which would- be lovers strain towards each other in an attempt to join the matching halves of symbolically broken plates, hindered by great bolts of cloth from the father's drapery store. And there's the marvellous final sequence when, after being shot, Joseph strips down to his undershorts and is passed tenderly, like a tiny baby, down the row of his family. A piercing image of the prematurity of that loss.
Booking (0171-494 5040) to 20 Feb
game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers
North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama
Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Lucy Hawking: Stephen Hawking's daughter writes impassioned open letter to Katie Hopkins about rights of disabled people
- 2 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 3 Russell Brand backs Ed Miliband: 'You gotta vote Labour'
- 4 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 5 Uploading pictures to find out how old you are gives Microsoft the right to post them wherever they want
Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
X-Men Apocalypse: First look at Jubilee and Jean Grey played by Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner
American Horror Story: Hotel Angela Bassett set to make 'lots of trouble' with Lady Gaga in season 5
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 4 - review: Sansa is in danger of becoming another footnote in Westeros' bloody history
May the Fourth Be With You: The internet celebrates Star Wars Day with new Twitter symbols and memes
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
In defence of liberal democracy