The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
© Richard Hubert Smith
Those who know her only as Petunia Dursley – or, at a stretch, as reluctant killer Marnie Stonebrook in ‘True Blood’ – probably stand to get the most out of Fiona Shaw’s new stage presentation. The formidable Irish actress has been a mainstay of operatic and theatrical circles for some time now; one of the joys of her performances is to see her expand dramatically on the sparkling energy that she channels into her (always too brief) roles in mainstream films. Her burning intensity is just what this production of Coleridge’s canonical poem ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ (about a sailor’s brush with death) needs: bar support from hyper-kinetic dancer Daniel Hay-Gordon, this is essentially a one-(wo)man show, and Shaw imbues it with all the theatrics of a West End production. As if to balance out her performance, Kim Brandstrup’s choreography is strikingly restrained, Phyllida Lloyd’s staging sparse and somber. The show arrives at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord on the back of strong reviews in New York and London (where it was staged in disused tunnels beneath Waterloo station). A suitably chilling night out for these cold winter months.

By: Alex Dudok de Wit