Review theatre: Dark Side of Love at the Roundhouse
LIFT 2012 production from Brazilian director features teenagers performing Shakespeare
The downstairs Dorfman Hub space deep in the bowels of the Roundhouse is dark, creepy and atmospheric, a perfect setting for this modern exploration of Shakespeare’s most painful and poignant moments on love, performed by teenagers. Of course for many of Shakespeare’s most tragic characters, love represents not an ascent into heavenly bliss, but a descent into hellish despair, and the setting mirrors that perfectly. Brazilian director Renato Rocha (known for his work with the actors in the film City of God) brings us a performance which features scenes from Hamlet, Othello and Romeo and Juliet, and is performed in promenade by a cast of talented London and Brazilian teenagers.
The audience become part of the action, drawn into the young characters’ world as they search for love in tragic circumstances. First of all we wander down a narrow, dark alleyway, seeing characters talk of love, and death, in different languages, but all in despair at the unforgiving nature of love. The audience is then herded into an open space by a bouncer-like teenager, where sequences are performed one after the other. Some extracts are direct from Shakespeare and others a more modern take on the Bard.
You can’t help but feel caught up in this emotionally intense roller coaster and the turmoil of those under the spell of love. The digital projections and stage set are fantastic and coupled with this eerie setting you are completely immersed in this emotive world.
An intense piece of physical theatre by a fantastic young cast.
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* Dark Side of Love is at the Dorfman Hub at the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm Road, NW1, as part of the London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT 2012) until July 8.
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