The Lovers of Viorne – The Theatre Room London
The Theatre Room is probably one of the quaintest performance spaces I’ve ever had the opportunity to visit. It’s recently become the new headquarters of The So & So Arts Club and is a hive of arts and entertainment cultural delights. I did not expect to see such a thriving and interesting building in my visit to this five-story premises which were built by the Adams Brothers and were once the workplace of a young Benjamin Disraeli and one of such historical interest.
Frontier Theatre Productions have adopted this venue and now have residency for their forthcoming season. A bit of information about Frontier, they seek to embrace performers who are notably of age 60 years plus or as they like to label it in their “fourth age”. The ethos being, that these extremely talented performers with a wealth of experience and sometimes superior techniques can often be left behind and overlooked when castings take place. This marks Frontier’s very first performance so did the concept pay off?
Photo Credit Oscar Blustin
The Lovers of Viorne is probably the most well-known of Marguerite Duras‘ plays. A complex and intense play which is multi-layered seeking to analyse a mind of a killer.
A stark stage greets us with what seems to be garden tables and chairs, the imagination created by the actors will conjure everything else you need for just over ninety minutes of entertainment.
The play opens with Martin Turner (Pierre) and Kevin Trainor (interrogator) Turner is the husband of murdering Claire (Charlotte Cornwell) and we see him talking to Trainor. Trainor bucks the ethos being a younger member of the cast which is required for this role. He has no name simply being listed as “Interrogator” in the programme and they go to great lengths to illustrate that he is not a policeman however you are left to consider what the basis of his role is? Is he a writer, a psychiatrist or just an interested party trying to seek the ultimate truth of where the severed head is? At times his role can be a little irritating and supercilious to the proceedings but that demonstrates how strong a performance is given by Trainor.
Turner as husband Pierre is deep and calculating in his delivery and at times you feel that he has wasted his life trying to love someone who is ultimately un-lovable and when this fails he seeks solace in affairs.
The pivotal role is of course Claire (the murderess) played exquisitely by Charlotte Cornwell. The intensity of her performance is at times breathtaking and on the brink of her madness is brilliantly portrayed. It really is a masterclass in acting whilst seemingly not even being present in mind whilst in the room with you?
I thoroughly enjoyed this adaptation directed by James Roose-Evans and translated by Barbara Bray which was in my mind in a perfect performance space. A real gem of a stripped back show where all that matters is the outstanding performances before you, so returning to my original question did the concept pay off? In my opinion absolutely yes and I’ll be looking with interest for Frontier Theatre Productions next output.
The Lovers of Viorne is on until 21st May at The Theatre Room 6 Frederick’s Place London just two minutes from Bank Station and tickets are only £15 (concs £13) which in my opinion is fabulous value for money by today’s standards.
Check out the website for more details www.frontiertheatreproductions.co.uk