Lindsay Duncan and Hilton McRae reveal the full depths of The Dance of Death’s ambiguity in production that is funny and strangely touching. Directed by the Arcola’s own Mehmet Ergen, the couple – married in real life – interact with a naturalness that takes the edge off their barbed attacks on one another, even as they push one another further and further and, almost, over the edge.
August Strindberg’s The Dance Of Death from 1900 has been credited with prefiguring the works of Beckett, Ionesco, Pinter and most notably provided a template for Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? However, in its latest incarnation at the Arcola in Hackney, which is the culmination of a tour started in May, I was forcibly reminded of the dynamic evoked by Noel Coward’s Private Lives – but with far fewer laughs.
Howard Brenton, a clear eye and eloquent historical storyteller, has immersed himself in the facts about the story of the Spitfires in The Shadow Factory and found an imaginative intuition.
Jessica Brown Findlay (Sonya), Vanessa Kirby (Elena), Richard Lumsden (Telegin), Hilton McRae (Serebryakov), Tobias Menzies (Astrov) and Ann Queensberry (Nanny) join the previously announced Paul Rhys (Vanya) in Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, a new version created by and directed by Associate Director, Robert Icke, at the Almeida Theatre.