THEATRE / Lulu - Lilian Baylis, London EC1

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The Independent Culture
In place of the two Lulu plays that we usually see, Cambridge Theatre Company has retrieved Wedekind's original drama, which encompasses the rise and fall of the fatally sensual Lulu within one play. In the new translation (by Edward Bond and Elisabeth Bond-Pable), this version proves brittle and scathing, attacking not only sexual mores but commercial expediency. Lulu and her conquests seem trapped almost as much by their need to grasp wealth and status as by their repressed sexual desires. Nick Philippou's production is dark and nervy, peppered with bitter humour, and no character is redeemable - except the helpless and self-lacerating Countess. In this version we see Dr Schoning shooting up, and receive clearer evidence that Lulu was abused by her first guardian. In keeping with this, Lulu herself - played to the hilt by a brave and beautiful Susan Lynch - seems more corrupt: her natural sensuality appears curdled from the outset. This makes sense but leads to some dramatically awkward scenes, when she tries desperately hard to seduce, and displays a callousness that seems calculated rather than amoral. But the unremitting downward spiral of the play is powerfully projected.

Continues to 14 Nov (071-837 4104).