This superb production by Strindberg is based on the 1900 classic play The Dance of Death. It is directed by Judy Davis and is an enthralling, nuanced and finely detailed must-see production.
Upon entering the theatre hall, we were greeted by Alice (Pamela Rabe) and her husband Captain Edgar (Colin Friels), who have been frozen in their misery. The vibe becomes a dead key to the darkness of what is to come...
On the eve of their silver wedding anniversary, living in their windswept island in a dank fortress, a former prison with their chosen isolation in hatred of others, Alice and Captain poke and jab at each other with terrible shorthand where arguments of long acquaintance reverberate. The rhythm of their hatred becomes disturbed with Alice's cousin Kurt's (Toby Schmitz) visit, whom psychologically unravels in the face of their torment.
Captain Edgar and Alice's rancour is so toxic, even the walls seep blood and bile. The elderly artillery captain and his former-actress wife know which scabs to pick to inflict maximum pain. They have turned their children against them, loathe their neighbours and even their staff are deserting them.
Edgar craves annihilation, yet fears death, whilst Alice wishes death upon him and craves freedom. But when it seems her wish might be granted, it is Alice who telegraphs for help.
The ground between them shifts constantly and their cruel games towards each other have inflicted misery but have also revitalised them.
The razor-sharp play features savage humour, with the laughs often coming in out loud, and the physical comedy is skillfully placed and extremely funny alongside the weapon of the encircling vicious arguments, pathos and drama.
Comic and caustic, Friels and Rabe exquisitely matched as they stripped off the layers of contradictions.
The Dance of Death is a production filled with gothic horror and melodrama, offering a bold, bleak view of intimate relationships and the damage inflicted in an endless cycle of resentment, frustrations and manipulations.
The Dance of Death is a masterpiece of unmissable brilliance, as it sways the audience with the inside perspectives of a plunking, dead and catastrophic marital carcass.
Tickets can be purchased online or at the Box Office.