Le Maître et Marguerite

Theatre, Experimental
Le Maître et Marguerite
© Christophe Raynaud de Lage

Complicite's titanic adaptation of Mikhail Bulgakov's magical realist masterpiece comes to Paris after touring London and Vienna. The efforts to cram almost the entirely of Bulgakov's story about the Devil's visit to Moscow are largely successful, but preserving so much plot tends to subsume and even occasionally marginalise the sprawling cast of characters contained therein. But Simon McBurney's production is far more a piece of storytelling than character-driven theatre; relax and allow its gargantuan three-plus hours to wash over you.

Perhaps McBurney's canniest move is to not try and render 'The Master and Margarita' in all the chaotic colours of Bulgakov's novel, but rather to restrict his palette and have everything take place in an elegiac blueish twilight. It may not quite do justice to the crazy vitality of the source text, but it conveys the uneasy tang of Stalin's Russia, and makes a fine netherworld for the satanic Professor Woland to stalk.

By: AL

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