Love and war: Creditors @JSTheatre
Walking into Jermyn Street Theatre to see the new translation of Strindberg's Creditors feels like you're transported to a small seaside hotel in the late 1800s. The sounds, look and feel, takes you there on some unknown Nordic island where the action takes place.
And it's gorgeousness lulls you into a false sense of security for the mind games that are about to take place over the next ninety minutes.
It opens with Adolf (James Sheldon), talking desperately about the love for his new wife with a man he recently has befriended, Gustaf (David Sturzaker). She's just published a book about her idiotic husband from her first marriage and now gone away for a few days. And her absence is driving Adolf crazy. He's stopped painting and started working on a very sexually provocative sculpture.
So when the unconventional Tekla (Dorothea Myer-Bennett) she finally arrives the scene is set for a double showdown, both with the neurotic Adolf and then Gustaf. But the confrontation is not what is expected. There are debts to be paid and consequences for all.
The cast is excellent at navigating both the humour and tragedy of the piece. This new translation from Howard Brenton moves quickly from comedy to savagery, but it never skips a beat. It's a seductive piece that will have you laughing one moment and recoiling in another.
Directed by Tom Littler (with designs by Louie Whitemore and lighting by Johanna Town), Creditors is running in repertory with Miss Julie (also a new translation by Howard Brenton) at Jermyn Street Theatre until 1 June.
Photos by Robert Day