Berkoff still a winner 30 years on

2010-09-20 00:00

Review: Decadence

FAMOUS playwright Steven Berkoff’s verse play, directed here by veteran director Christopher Weare and impeccably performed by Scott Sparrow and Emily Child, is an exercise in polish and style.

This piece about overindulgence — in sex, food and money — still has, nearly 30 years after it was first performed, the ability to shock delicate sensibilities and yet keep one riveted and engaged.

The actors play two characters each in a broad, stylised way and yet manage to imbue them with intimate detail and remarkable subtlety. The complex and descriptive language flows like a fountain and is never forced or stilted. Their energy and focus as they take one through this pacy rollercoaster of a show are astounding.

This is the kind of theatre where one marvels at how the craft of the actor, the director and the playwright all meld together into a perfect whole.

Decadence is about decadence and the complexity of obsession, but it is also about the art of theatre. To be able to hold an audience in the uncomfortably cramped conditions of the venue reinforces how good it actually is.

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