The Rape of Lucrece @ Zoo Southside
Shakespeare is everywhere this Fringe: there are Chinese versions of Hamlet, plays about the man himself, and even Shakespeare Bingo so you are hard-set to pick from this Shakespearean cornucopia if the bard is your cup of tea. Wading through the festival programme and its ample use of the phrase “Shakespeare with a twist” I finally came across The Rape of Lucrece. Trailing through what I can remember of the Bard’s back-catalogue in my head, I eventually came to the imagined last pages of the complete works, where after the plays are ended, the sonnets and poems are. So, The Rape of Lucrece is a poem, and I was intrigued to see how much of a performance could be made out of it, or whether it would be a very drawn-out and wordy poetry reading.
I know that many people love early modern theatre, but there are also many that just can’t be bothered with it, and that coupled with the form of a narrative poem, may put some off but in this case I cannot state enough that there is no need to be intimidated.
Gerard Logan’s ambitious one man show is an animated story-telling that pulls you in to the story of Lucrece and the events that led to the ousting of the Tarquins, and the formation of the Roman republic. Logan is the sort of story-teller that plays all the parts, a solo Greek chorus and the feverishly channelled protagonists. He is pure excitement and dynamism and the sheer activity of his performance keeps the audience riveted and I fascinated. His delivery is intense and direct, making eye contact with the audience and bringing the story to a pitch with his precise and controlled voice.
The Rape of Lucrece is Shakespeare performed at its best; but in an intimate and simple manner. If the project had been to make a play out it, or if there had been a narrator and actors playing characters on stage it would have probably been an atrocity, but as it was, it was pretty-damn excellent.