Madness in Valencia
This event has now finished. Until Aug 30 2009
Time Out says
There's almost no end to the whirligig pleasures of this spiral staircase of a drama from Spain's Shakespeare, Lope de Vega. The Bard's contemporary, De Vega served in the Armada and became a notoriously lascivious priest. His flamboyant life leaks into the very bedrock of his delirious, carnivalesque tale of two noble, sane souls who lose themselves to love in the inauspicious surrounds of a sixteenth-century madhouse. One has been robbed and is mistaken for a 'loony'. The other is in hiding from the law.
The unbridled ministrations of Pisano, Doctor of Physik, would threaten the sanity of the most earthbound of inmates. But what De Vega illustrates pre-eminently is the liberation the madhouse affords. Within its thick, loamed walls, murder is no sin. Unchaperoned men and women can concoct odd fantasy worlds, servants abuse their masters, 'frigid' women unearth their lust. All socially threatening wrongs are duly righted in the requisite resolution scene, but with such modern metadramatic tricks that it feels radically shaky.
What Simon Evans's breathlessly pacy production illustrates is just how much enlivening fun can be had with a classic that hasn't been ossified by overuse. He is greatly aided by David Johnston's uninhibited translation, and by William Belchambers and Kathryn Beaumont as his beautifully believable, utterly charming lead lovers. Lawrence Fuller is also a faultless Pisano, exemplifying the company's ability to lend contemporary hilarity to the text without deriding its original spirit. Slightly tatty around the edges, this revival nevertheless proves a rare and delight.