theSpace @ the Surgeon’s Hall V53
August 18th to 24th 09.50
🌟🌟🌟 (Three Star)
It is 1974 and the ageing and famous playwright Sir Terence Rattigan is in his office preparing the script for a BBC television play about what he considers, “the greatest love story since Romeo and Juliet,” that between the ballet impresario Diaghilev and the amazing dancer Nijinsky. At the same time we see scenes play out where Nijinsky begins his dance training, and where he meets Diaghilev and his wife, Romola.
The play has to be transmitted soon or it will be put back years by a massive Shakespeare project, and will the ill and drink-addled Rattigan survive? Romola does not want her late husband’s memory affected by the truth, and threatens Rattigan. Rattigan cannot bear the publication of the truth either. Who will win?
KGS bring another very accomplished performance to the Fringe, with a large and able cast, bringing to life this very involving play by Nicholas Wright. The staging is excellent, and the audience quickly adapt to the movement across time. Alexander Clay is especially good and arresting as Rattigan, showing us a tormented man, who has not moved with the times, and still keeps within him all the shame about his sexuality that belongs to a previous, pre-law reform era, despite having a quite self-revealing lifestyle. He is a kind of anti-hero, a tragic figure, in effect. Matti Musk is a very well observed Nijinsky, showing us the dancer’s ability, his self-regard, his religious obsessions, and his decline.
This youthful company brought a very fine update of Kafka, Joseph K, last year, and again they present a show that is very well worth getting along early for. This is a distinctive and very well-produced show, with which director Stuart Crohill should be very pleased, and is a rarely told story that is well worth engaging with.