[2009029] Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment [FringeTIX]

Heartspace Theatre Company @ The Irish Club

7:00pm, Mon 2 Mar 2009

Now, I don’t pretend to know the first thing about Dostoevsky’s purportedly classic, but there’s a decent synopsis in the programme, and (of course) Wikipedia provides the goods (hopefully).

Not that it matters, because this production is really not that good.

Using the interview between Raskolnikov and Porfiry as the spine of the play, the action is portrayed as flashbacks, culminating in Raskolnikov’s slaying of Alyona and Lizaveta, and his subsequent confession. The original novel appears to have been significantly butchered to accommodate a small cast, but the essential elements of Raskolnikov actions and their consequence – both psychological and physical – remain.

The problem is, though, that the cast can’t really deliver the goods. For all his desire to be Napoleonic, Matthew Trainor’s Raskolnikov came across as weedy and uncommitted; sure, the “crazy” bit was there, but I imagined him as stronger, bolder, more confident… the rest of the crowd loved him, but I was utterly unconvinced. Likewise, Joanna Hocking’s Sonia was thinly voiced, lacking projection and presence – particularly troubling given her pivotal role, but an affliction shared by the most of the cast. The only stand-out was Mark Smytherman’s Porfiry – a solid performance, but (necessarily) limited.

It wasn’t all bad, though – there was some decent direction (including a jumbled dialogue sequence where the end of one character’s lines would trip into the start of the next), and the odd lighting glitch (leaving one female soliloquy headless) caused unintentional mirth. But, in the end, there was little compelling to be found – certainly not enough to stop me from snoozing (a lot) during the performance. I remember Heartspace’s first Fringe production of King Lear in 2002 – that was a much better effort.

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