“Nothing short of breathtaking”
Watching actors tackle Shakespeare can usually be categorised into one of two columns: boring, or brilliant. The latter is much harder to find, which is why watching Gerard Logan’s performance of Shakespeare’s “The Rape of Lucrece” impressed me so thoroughly.
Throughout the narrative poem, which details one of the principal and ghastly acts which led to the founding of the Roman Republic, Logan’s time-honed professionalism shines. His dynamism is nothing short of breathtaking, filling each of the character roles in the work with almost uncanny shifts in energy; grief stricken one moment, and then furious the next without it ever feeling sporadic. This is a piece which has obviously been rehearsed and tweaked to the nth degree, and it shows.
And perhaps the most impressive facet of Logan’s performance was his verbal skill. His speed and dexterity meant that not only did Shakespeare’s Elizabethan writing lose none of it’s meaning, it lost none of it’s original intended impact. Even to someone who has never encountered Shakespeare before, this performance would be easily understandable and immensely enjoyable – at least, in a dramatic sense, given that the subject matter doesn’t easily lend itself to a happy mood.
However, Logan’s seemingly infinite stores of energy sometimes worked against him: certain flourishes in his physical performances, and the feverish speed of some movements, threatened to push select lines over the boundary from compelling to overwrought. And whilst these moments were few and far between in an otherwise well restrained performance, they were nevertheless noticeable.
But despite these small complaints, it was clear from the chatter after the show that the one-man performance was a clear hit – and I cannot say I disagree. Though it may not have made me into a lover of Shakespearean poetry yet, it’s nevertheless an artistic and directorial triumph.
Reviewer: Jacob Close (Seen 9 August)
Visit the Other archive.