Cherwell

Love of the Nightingale – BT Early

Rape, violence, murder, jealousy and tongues being cut out may
not be the ideal night out, but Love of the Nightingale
(Wertenbaker) is a punchy and engaging production that should not
be missed. It is an adaptation of the Greek myth of Tereus and Philomele,
in which a young woman journeys from Athens to rejoin her older
sister in Thrace, under the care of her brotherin- law. The story
focuses on the relationship between Philomele, the younger sister
played with affecting vulnerability by Poppy Burton- Morgan, and
her brother-in-law Tereus (Tom Richards), only recently married
to her sister Procne. As the journey progresses and is delayed by
Tereus, it emerges that his motives are far from honourable, and
he is crushed by the weight of his passion for Philomele, leading
him to violence. The play is occasionally confusing and the split-stage method
does not help this uncertainty. As the play develops, the
separation becomes more obvious and it begins to seem compulsive
viewing. This is helped not only by excellent direction but also
by an extremely talented cast: Raj Gathani is particularly good,
and his opening fight scene with Huw Davies is a treat. Fight
director Miles Warner has obviously put real effort into the
choreography. Where the production falls down is in its casting
of one actor to play so many different roles. It becomes hectic
with the same actors changing persona within seconds. However the
performance remains slick, professional and satisfying
throughout.ARCHIVE: 0th week TT 2004