Donmar Warehouse revives a lesser-known Strindberg drama.

  • SPOUSE CALLS Chancellor gets connubial with Burke.

SPOUSE CALLS Chancellor gets connubial with Burke.

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5

Here at TONY, we sift through hundreds of press releases a year, so take it from us: Miss Julie is done way too much Off-Off. It’s too bad, because there’s another potent drama that August Strindberg wrote in 1888. The smart, chic classicists at London’s Donmar Warehouse make a strong case for more revivals of the comparatively obscure Creditors.

Alan Rickman takes the director’s chair to steer a roller-coaster of sex, lies and revenge in playwright David Greig’s swift, muscular adaptation. In this real-time psychodrama, sickly artist Adolph (Burke) gets rather bad marriage advice from blunt-speaking Gustav (Teale). Adolph worries that his marriage to strong-willed novelist Tekla (Chancellor) is practically draining him of life. Gustav, clucking over his friend’s dearth of vim and shameful subservience to a woman, suggests that Tekla may be unfaithful and advises Adolph to abstain from relations with her.

Cue the entrance of gorgeous and vibrant Chancellor, who smells poison in the air, even as she tries to seduce her hysterical hubby. Adolph is Tekla’s second husband, and we start to wonder what happened to the first one. The battle of wills escalates into a sort of metaphysical meditation on romantic attachment: What is owed to those once loved? Can new love cancel out the debt of the past? Rickman’s actors ratchet up the tension until it reaches a fever pitch of tragic intensity.

Take your lover; hell, take your ex. It might seem cheeky to recommend Creditors as a fine date play, but if your relationship can survive 90 minutes of Strindbergian angst and bitterness, it will outlive anything.

See more Theater reviews

BAM Harvey Theater. By August Strindberg. Adapted by David Greig. Dir. Alan Rickman. With Tom Burke, Owen Teale, Anna Chancellor. 1hr 30mins. No intermission.