THEATRE / On theatre

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Indy Lifestyle Online
It's tough at the top. The more successful a show becomes, the longer it runs, the harder it becomes to keep performances alive. Clive Mendus is in Theatre de Complicite's hugely successful The Street of Crocodiles (right) which has been running for two years, most of which has been on a tour taking in everywhere from Israel to Iceland.

'Playing to so many different cultures has kept it fresh. We've been in a different country every week, let alone a different town. On a literal level, the piece is about the death of a man at the hands of fascism because of his race and beliefs, but it's also about the oppression of the poetic imagination. Everywhere in Eastern Europe they understood that.

'In many ways, Lithuania was typical of the tour, yet it was also very particular. This is a small country emerging from under the Russian yoke. Their thirst for art and independence was enormous. The play provoked the most phenomenal response. At the end there was this outburst of emotion and pleasure at what the piece did. Yet in Iceland, they loved the comedy but didn't respond to the tragedy.

'There are so many cultural differences you cannot foresee. We used Russian music for its sound. That didn't go down too well in some places.' In Brazil they discovered (too late) that our word 'OK means 'fuck off. Things should be a little clearer at the Young Vic.

The Street of Crocodiles opens tonight at the Young Vic (box office: 071-928 6363)

(Photograph omitted)

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