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Fringe Report is now closed. Fringe Report closed on its 10th anniversary, Thursday 12 July 2012. It remains online as a record of 10 exciting years in the arts. Till July 2013, previously unwritten content is being added to the site from the past 10 years, but we are no longer reviewing new material. You can still write to us on the existing email addresses. Good luck with your shows.
The Rape of Lucrece
Verdict: Electrifying performance, meticulous direction
Solo actor Gerard Logan delivers an electrifying performance of The Rape of Lucrece (1594), a narrative poem by William Shakespeare (1564-1616). Using little more than a white shawl, he recreates each aspect of the poem exquisitely, subtly embodying individual characters with masterful grace.
Composer Simon Slater's opening music is full of urgent drums and haunting strings, staccato and advancing, setting the scene for the ensuing struggle. Dialogue is delivered at a galloping pace while Gerard Logan firmly roots himself, eyes ablaze, focus intense.
He introduces antagonist Tarquin and his struggle with himself as he battles his base desires towards Lucretia (Lucrece), the chaste betrothed of his King. He evokes Tarquin's creeping along passageways, entering Lucretia's chamber, watching her sleeping, hearing her desperate pleas for mercy.
The language of writer William Shakespeare is rivetingly brought to life by Gerard Logan as he voices Tarquin's thoughts, reasoning that 'there is not hate in loving', finally giving in to himself with 'desire my pilot is, and beauty my prize'. His delivery mirrors the sensuality of the script, as he mimes, suggests and relives small details of Lucretia's sleeping body, before confronting her with his desire and, as she wakes, his terrible ultimatum.
With fast and impressive character skills, Gerard Logan moves between playing Tarquin and Lucretia as the seduction begins. The shawl becomes the bedclothes, Lucretia cowering behind them, grabbing them to her in an attempt to preserve her modesty and integrity. The mix of passion, lust, fear and despair required in this scene is formidable, and yet Gerard Logan encapsulates all without breaking pace. As the climax draws near, he claps his hand across Lucretia's mouth, the effort clearly visible, as he declares 'the fault is thine'.
Focus then shifts to Lucretia, Gerard Logan evoking pity for the tormented soul as she moves through horror, fear, guilt, shame and anger in the aftermath of her rape. Her distress at this 'unlooked-for evil' is touchingly played as the actor guides the character to her inevitable conclusion, that she cannot live a tainted wife to her husband. The inner struggle as she tries to retain composure while issuing orders to her maid, through to the numb acceptance as she confronts her husband are enthralling to watch. The performer manages to create a whole arriving battle-party with minimal effort. The final scenes in which father and husband compete in their grief are eloquently and emotionally delivered. By the time the piece closes, the limp shawl is all that remains of Lucretia, ruined by Tarquin's failure to control his desire.
Gerard Logan utilises his powerful voice to great effect throughout the piece, showcasing its flexibility and range as he portrays each character and every minute emotional shift. Vocally he breathes life into the text, already full of tactile imagery, so that the large world of the poem is created in the empty performance space around him. Roger Llewellyn's stark lighting design fits well with the piece, and Gareth Armstrong's meticulous direction and attention to detail is apparent throughout.
Cast Credits: Gerard Logan - Performer. Website - www.gerardlogan.co.uk.
Company Credits: Writer [of The Rape of Lucrece (1594)] - William Shakespeare (1564-1616). Director - Gareth Armstrong. Composer - Simon Slater. Lighting Designer - Roger Llewellyn. Sound Designer - uncredited. Technical Operator - uncredited. Producer - Mark Makin. Company - Makin Projects. Website - www.makinprojects.co.uk. Website - www.therapeoflucrece.co.uk.
(c) Emma MacLennan 2011
reviewed Tuesday 9 August 2011 / Zoo Southside, Edinburgh, UK
Fringe Report (c) Fringe Report 2002-2013