Crime and Punishment – Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
Director: Dominic Hill
Writer: Chris Hannan
Reviewer: Amy Taylor[rating:4]
Poverty, pride and sanity form the basis of Dominic Hill’s Crime and Punishment, a new adaptation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s acclaimed novel of the same name. A co-production between the Citizens Theatre, the Royal Lyceum Theatre and the Liverpool Playhouse, this piece resurrects Dostoyevsky’s classic tale to create a resonant and bleak new piece of performance that is still relevant today.
Raskolnikov (Adam Best) is an impoverished and desperate ex-law student who plots to murder his unpleasant and heartless pawnbroker for her money and the belongings that he had sold to her. But after committing two murders, he is overcome by guilt, and as his mind becomes more and more imbalanced, and his lies start to unravel, he has the chance for redemption when he meets the prostitute Sonya (Jessica Hardwick), but will his mental anguish be his undoing?
Directed by Hill and adapted from Dostoyevsky’s novel by Chris Hannan, Crime and Punishment is a classic thriller that takes the audience on a journey through pre-meditated murder, redemption and desperation. However, while the story revolves around the two murders committed by Raskolnikov, lying at the beating heart of this powerful production is an in-depth exploration into poverty, pride and imbalance of the mind. However, the play’s real punch lies in its ability to create a universal and timeless portrayal of poverty and desperation, and not just in Russia. Crime and Punishment is a classic yet contemporary and damning exploration of the fragility of the human mind, but also the effects of poverty, and what it can drive seemingly ordinary people to do. However, Best’s Raskolnikov is not representative of every man; his tale is not a fable or a warning. He is neither a hero, nor an anti-hero, but a complicated and conflicted character trapped in his own living nightmare. He is imprisoned, not for his horrific crimes, or by his own circumstances, but his pride, as his refusal to be helped by those around him leads to further desperation and guilt. Featuring live music composed by Nikola Kodjabashia,which is performed live on stage by the actors, and Colin Richmond’s bare and open set, this is a piece that could easily be set anywhere, and performed everywhere, as the very real effects of poverty remain a shameful stain on our contemporary society. An accomplished and haunting production, Hill’s Crime and Punishment is the very first jewel in the crown of Scottish theatre’s new Autumn season.
Runs until Saturday 28th September, then touring
Photo credit: Tim Morozzo