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|Crime and Punishment|
I was reminded about this play earlier this year in conversation with a friend and remembered seeing it soon after leaving the Forces after the Second World War. I was impressed for I still remember moments from it with it's cast including John Gielgud, Edith Evans and Peter Ustinov and bought a hard-back copy of the text - a copy which long ago I loaned and lost. I am indebted to Paul Taylor of Samuel French Ltd for the loan of a file photocopy which has made this production possible, for the play is long out of print.
Stage adaptation by Rodney Ackland
Review by Paul Bowen for Richmond and Twickenham Times (November 1993)The plot of Dostoyevsky's novel Crime and Punishment can be reduced to: student Raskolnikoff murders an old woman; a usurer persuades himself he has done no wrong, undergoes mental anguish, and repents.
Of course that does not begin to convey the way the writer delves into the dark recesses of the human mind and soul.
Eric Yardley has resuscitated Rodney Ackland's 1946 stage version for a highly successful production by Youth Action Theatre at Hampton Court Theatre this week, directing it in collaboration with Rick de Kerckhove.
Played within a superb set by Alex Saunders with Jean Goodwin's panorama of St Petersburg as a backcloth and lit with rare sublety by Simon Roose, it created exactly the kind of chaos that must have reigned in a lodging house in the 1860s. I was captivated from the first strains of Robin Johannsen's violin (used tellingly throughout), and my attention never wavered.
The production revolved around George Scott's Raskolnikoff, and after a tentative beginning he expanded to fill the role, though he resorts to shouting occasionally which in this acoustic is fatal.
His friend Razoumikhin, was played by Peter Gardiner with exactly the right blend of youthful exuberance and exasperation, an object lesson in clarity of delivery even at the most excitable moments.
Sarah Jane Renton's Katerina conveyed the desperation and wild swings of emotion of the dying consumptive, though she too resorted to shouting, but is was a compelling portrayal, beautifully contrasted by Jo Viney's self-sacrificing Sonia.
I was impressed by the calm authority of Andrew Everett's police chief and by Sarah Mould's maid Nastasia. There were also well turned performances in many of the smaller roles and by some of YAT's newer members too.
Not expecting to enjoy this production, I was entralled and came away full of admiration.
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