"Marlowe in Hot Chile Sauce"
by Marco Marrese on 17/04/11

Costanza Hola moved the action to a not-so-imaginary Latin American country for her version of Edward II by Christopher Marlowe and she has brilliantly used the original outline to create a modern, wicked and startling new adaptation that should please most viewers. Her inventiveness (coupled with that of the Director and the Choreographer) might be a bit of a surprise for the usually more traditional Rose Theatre, but it is high-quality creativity, and well delivered.

The direction (Diego Poupin) is absolutely well crafted and conveys fittingly the mixed atmosphere of disorientation and inevitability, disgust and amusement, comedy and tragedy of the script. It is clear that many of the actors have a training in physical theatre and mime and this is put to the best use by the Director and by Ana Marambio (the Movement Director, as she is credited in the program) whose work stands out, particularly so during the first half of the play. The performance is also often accompanied by music to strengthen the choreography and drama, although this is too obvious at times.

The work by the creative team is all the more enhanced by a very good cast of actors and some outstanding performances. Sebastian Concha is great in showing the different angles of Eduardo's personality. His cruelty and fragility, his true love for Gustavo and his drive for power, his wickedness and candour. We see and feel his disgust when he refuses his (gorgeous) wife but he gives his best with Gustavo (Dan Van Garrett). Their chemistry and the sensuality of their relationship on-stage is unbelievable. They render Gustavo and Eduardo's love with such subtlety and naturalness that we forget they are two twisted abuser and can only see a tender couple in love. After Gustavo's death, Dan also doubles as the killer of Eduardo and, again, he is great with his body language changing and adapting to male and female roles. Eleanor Appleton portrayal of Evita (Eduardo's wife) is so sensual and charming that the contrast with Eduardo's homosexuality is excruciating, but the best feat of her performance is, by far, the development of her character. From a rejected woman to a power-thirsty demagogue, from a blood-thirsty dictator to a remorseful widow. Elizabeth Bloom acts as the witty counsellor and friend to Evita (Eduardo's wife) and she performs much of the explicit comedy of the play while suddenly shifting to a wicked and evil mood convincingly. She is well supported by Lisa Dupuis as her louder but dumber (and less developed) co-conspirator.

The play offers its best in the first half, with most of the contrast in the play, while the second part is more about events and getting to the inevitable tragic end. But it still remains very entertaining.
Spectators should not be deterred by this adaptation! give it a chance and you will enjoy it!

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