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Adaptation of French playwright Bernard-Marie Koltes’ intense two-hander

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»The intimate setting of the Tristan Bates theatre forms the perfect backdrop for this intense two-hander directed by Kimberly Sykes.

The action focuses on the tempestuous relationship between a Dealer and Client who encounter one another by chance in the dark streets of an unknown place. What is being bought or sold is undisclosed: the transaction forms the backdrop to a philosophical dissection of the human psyche.

The Dealer (Alexander Roberts) draws in his Client (Christopher Hughes) with a camp cockney drawl and a pair of leather leggings lewdly bulging at the crotch. But the predator becomes prey and vice versa as both men win and lose the battle for supremacy several times. Creatively staged, the only props are the coats hanging on each wall, and a loudspeaker.

Christopher Hughes is credible as the outwardly conventional Client while Alexander Roberts’ multi-faceted performance brilliantly shows the flaws and strengths of the Dealer, and the inherent contradictions in his nature.

Although Bernard-Marie Koltes is one of the most produced playwrights in France he is relatively obscure in the UK, partly because some of the experimental theatrical techniques he dives into from the start.

An interesting adaptation of a complex piece.

* In the Solitude of Cotton Fields is at the Tristan Bates Theatre in Tower Street, WC2, until May 12.

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