1 Mar


Schnitzler’s La Ronde a sexually explicit play in seven scenes has been adapted many times and in many ways but never before has it concentrated on passion in the 3rd age – illustrating the mature kind of love which can be even more powerful than that of younger people.

Clare Perkins, dressed as a circus ringmaster in fishnet tights is the puppet master of this circus of life and love. Her voice has the smooth sweetness of an angel but it can turn harsh and aggressive when she cracks her whip and very funny when she lets fall an exclamation in broad cockney.

She gives a Stunning performance that dominates the proceedings. She announces the scenes, bringing on the whole company dressed in fanciful circus gear who dance in a circle like children playing ring a ring a roses and then break off to dance with each other, changing partners regularly. These scenes happen throughout the performance between the short plays with some of them performing acrobatic stunts on two long white cloths hanging from the ceiling.

There are seven short plays each with two characters showing an aspect of their love life – and one protagonist from each play goes on to appear in another episode of their amorous life. The stories come in different forms from a Private Lives type scenario to an event in a gay club.

For me, there are two outstanding scenes. One is heart breaking –  about a caring and patient man looking after a wife with Alzheimer’s, sensitively played by Holly de Jong and Roger Alborough. The other one is of a bedridden widow who still yearns for a lover’s touch. ‘I love fucking’ cries Ann Firbank to her youthful friend Elan James. This is sensationally done and is probably the sexiest scene I have ever witnessed on stage.

We end up with one of the partners from the first play. We have come full circle and the company do their final dance. The circus theme brought alive by their colourful eccentric costumes designed by Moi Trans.

The clever, witty and moving script is by Sonja Linden and it is vivaciously brought to life by director Anna Lewich and choreographer Diane Alison-Mitchell.



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