Theatre, Fringe
3 out of 5 stars

You really can't fault the ambition of The Faction, the fringe rep company that made a splash at this address a year ago with its revival of Friedrich Schiller's 'Mary Stuart'.

Returning for a 2013 season, it's back with not only another Schiller play, but a promise to revive all nine of his plays over the next decade or so. And if that doesn't sound ambitious enough for you, then bear in mind that not all of the eighteenth-century German dramatist's works have actually been performed in English before.

One such play is 'Fiesco', a tragedy in which the eponymous Genoan nobleman protagonist struggles to do the right thing against the city-state's tyrannical heir apparent, Gianettino. For its UK premier, The Faction's Daniel Millar and Mark Leipacher have got stuck in and fashioned a very fair translation of their own.

Leipacher's production certainly has its faults, notably in Richard Delaney's nervy Fiesco – hardly the charismatic playboy he's described as – while the lack of any set can occasionally make it hard to quite picture what's going on in a busy plot.

But mostly it's a pacy, lucid evening, with good turns from Gareth Fordred as venal Gianettino and Anna-Maria Nabirye as whimsical killer Hassan. And, flawed as the production may be, one simply can't overlook the scale of The Faction's achievements in bringing 'Fiesco' to the English stage for the first time.


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