The Pulverised is a deep-dive into a comfortingly familiar world – our jobs and our working lives, but suddenly rendered strange, frightening and comical. As a story it was inspired by a now notorious media scandal: the working conditions in the factories of a certain Chinese manufacturer led to a contagion of suicides.
With the horror of Syria fresh on us, and Africa’s travails with Ebola still haunting, this sombre, unforgettable treatment of Albert Camus’ LA PESTE feels urgently present. Neil Bartlett has pared down the novel’s characters to five – the central Dr Rieux played with remarkable balanced strength by Sara Powell.
There is an appealing simplicity to the narrative of Camus’s 1947 novel: originally set in Oran, in French Algerian, the book tells the story of a devastating infection that starts off slowly but eventually leads to social and economic crisis as the city gates are closed and its people become prisoners.
Stylistically revolutionary as it was when first written, Marlowe’s Tamburlaine is still a clumsy brute of a play (not unlike Shakespeare’s first tragedy, Titus Andronicus) that has plenty of challenges when it comes to its staging. But the messy and violent journey from common thief to emperor includes some extraordinary moments that appealed to wider audiences in a way that went on to shape Shakespeare and his other contemporaries.