Monday, 18 August 2014

'Therese Raquin' Park Theatre ****

Finsbury Park’s relatively new theatre, the Park Theatre has been entertained audiences with an array of emerging and rediscovered plays and musicals, which have proven to be highly infectious pieces of work, such as ‘Thark’ and ‘Daytona', and it's called current offering of ‘Thérèse Raquin’ is a musical fall of brilliant aspects and one that's vastly enjoyable. Nona Shepphard’s musical rendition of Emile Zola’s first major pieces of writing, which was written in 1867, which was first performed at the intimate Finborough Theatre , in March of this year, and it is just as warm in the slightly bigger auditorium here. ‘Thérèse Raquin’ is set in 19th-century Paris, where we are voyeuristically observing a woman's indiscretion with another man and her husband is none the wiser of this action. Thérèse has been in forced to marry her particularly naive cousin, Camille, who is moddy-coddled by his overbearing mother, Madame Raquin. Due to Camille's desire to live in the city, they decide that they would manage a shop selling a manner of objects for the local citizens. On Thursday evenings , Madame Raquin invites her loyal friends over to play a game of dominoes and it's apparent that she is a negative influence towards her son, because he’s not a mentally developed adult. On one instance, Camille is reunited with his childhood acquaintance, Laurent, who then engrosses Thérèse’s yearning for sexual intercourse and to have a mature man to woo her. This commences a treacherous affair were they have sex in Camille’s own bed, and when the three of them visit the French countryside, with a river it appears that Thérèse  and Laurent have violently murdered Camille by drowning him. Zola and Shepphard’s narrative is likeable and Shepphard’s lyrics, accompanied by Craig Adams music were exceptionally charming, especially with such numbers as; “Snuggy Little House”, “Thursday Nights”, “A Sunday Tragedy” and” If I Had Known”. I thought that the performances by the company of ‘Thérèse Raquin’ were gracefully executed with grandeur. Tara Hugo was spectacular as the matriarch, Madame Raquin. Her vocal range and facial expressions were intriguing to look at, especially when she learns of the real reason of her sons' death. Julie Atherton is fetching as the dishonest Thérèse . I found when she realises that Laurent is quite ferocious; she became regretful for murdering Camille. Jeremy Legat and Greg Barrnett were both pleasing as the lead males Camille and Laurent. Nona Shepphard’s direction was opulent as it captured the deceitful action of adultery with a real sense of care and attention. Laura Cordery’s design is sublime as the detailing of a Parisian shop has been crafted with such charisma and within the Park Theatre’s limitations I couldn't fault it. Overall, I found the experience of ‘Thérèse Raquin’ was a quirky experience and one that was most attractive.

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