(Performed in August 2018 – Review published in November 2018)
Oh dear sweet Dionysus, why? When I saw CUADC last year, they were here with a brilliant new translation of the all-but-lost Kulish play, Maklena (Grasa).That was one of my highest rated shows from last year, so I admit I did expect the same standard from this production, itself apparently a new translation of a 1903 “scandalous” Austrian play by Schnitzler.
Oh how I was let down. I was warned by a cast-mate that it was pretty dire, but I didn’t listen, and was punished with a long, long 50 minutes to sit through. It’s hard to explain exactly what was so dreadful about the vast majority of it. Much of the problem perhaps lay in the translation. The resultant dialogue was stilted, awkward, and inconsistent in tone, feeling highly unnatural and too often out of place.
The second main issue was the acting. I truly do hate to say it but for the most part it was so painfully wooden. Characters spoke supposedly important or dramatic lines with either all the emotion of an widow’s garden gnome, or all the ham of farmer’s market. And essentially no in-between. I will concede that two cast members, Ciaran Constable and Georgina Taylor are undoubtedly talented actors, but were here trapped by dialogue and direction that refused to let them be those talented actors. They were only permitted flashes to show off what they might really be capable of, but those were very few and far between.
When the lights went up at the end of this show, I remember turning to the cast members from The Quest sat next to me and asking “What the fuck was that?” And really, I think that’s all that’s left to say about Reigen.