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Indy Lifestyle Online
The strengths of Steven Pimlott's excellent updated production of Murder in the Cathedral are all architectural. Appearing from all four corners of the auditorium, the women of Canterbury, hair scraped back, blue print dresses covered in aprons - set a tone of danger and anticipation, underscored by Peter Salem's tense string music. The women, like the priests, knights and tempters, are all sharply individualised. By cutting across both the space and each other, they dramatise Pimlott's understanding of the play's structure and release its human dimensions.

At the centre, Michael Feast (right) reveals Becket as a man literally wrestling with his conscience. He leaps between a highly physical evocation of the temptations of martyrdom and an almost fiercely self-imposed stillness. In the Christmas morning sermon, he achieves both a startling simplicity and also manages to reveal the self-consciousness of a man caught between ego and integrity.

When, with the knights at the door, Becket is dragged off into hiding, Brian Harris's lighting catches one of the priests (Sean Hannaway) frozen by indecision. Flooded with terror, he searches the room and his soul for the right answer to the dilemma. The moment lasts a split second but sums up the virtues of a production which shows an entire company responding to a rigorously thought-through piece of work.

Murder in the Cathedral returns to The Pit, Barbican Centre, Silk St, EC2 (071-638 8891) 13-14 June, 7.15pm, pounds 6.50-pounds 14.

(Photograph omitted)

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