Adaptation: Seamus Heaney
Director: Lynne Parker
Designer: Charlotte Lane
Reviewer: Rachel Clark
The epic tale ofBeowulfusually conjures images of fire breathing dragons, gruesome monsters and spectacular land battles yet in the Tron Theatre’s Changing House Lynne Parker’s production of the influential text hasstrippedBeowulfto its natural core.
Alone, Seamus Heaney’s translation reads with an elegant fluency; paired with the Tron Theatre CompanyBeowulfleaps to life in a flourish of literary devices set against a darkened and brooding stage. The distinct voices of three of Scotland’s finest actresses collectively portray the iconic tale of a Danish community under siege by the god-cursed monster, Grendal. From across the sea comes the heroic Geat warrior Beowulf, determined to protect the Danes and the Heorot Hall built by their King, the sole location of refuge and solidarity in the midst of their devastated community.
Shattered stones crunch underfoot in Charlotte Lane’s abstract design of destroyed pillars with fragments suspended in mid-air; frozen in time. Heaney’s language fires the imagination, Parker’s steady staging succeeding where Robert Zemeckis’ 2007 film adaptation of the epic poem fails. The simplicity of the staging allows the audience to embrace the story on a personal level while remaining true to Heaney’s vision ofBeowulf.
As three intriguing ‘Storytellers,’ Helen McAlpine, Lorraine McIntosh and Anita Vettesse breathe life into Heaney’s text with fascinating clarity, their performances entrancing from the poem’s haunting opening scene of Shield’s remote funeral boat against the horizon to the final scene which strays from the poem’s original ending. A memorable and unique theatre event,Beowulfis a beautiful adaptation of Seamus Heaney’s entrancing translation of the oldest surviving epic poem in Anglo-Saxon literature.
Runs until Saturday 2ndAugust 2014