Theatre review: Solaris at The Courtyard Theatre

11:48 21 November 2012

Solaris at the Courtyard Theatre. Picture by Foteini Christofilopoulou

Solaris at the Courtyard Theatre. Picture by Foteini Christofilopoulou

Archant

Doffed cap must be raised for valiant production of Stranislaw Lem’s difficult source novel, writes Greg Wetherall

The name may be familiar, but as a theatre production, the Courtyard Theatre is attempting the unknown.

Solaris has never before been performed on the stage. This is partly because Stranislaw Lem’s source novel, written in 1961, was only translated into English for the first time last year.

Consequently, it is mostly known to the wider public either from the revered 1972 film made by the legendary Andrei Tarkovsky, or the English language remake from 2002 starring George Clooney.

The play opens with Dr Kelvin’s arrival on a space station on the fringes of the galaxy, which is surrounded by ‘the ocean’. The significance and influence of the ocean on those within the space station is brought into question as the play unfolds.

A chamber piece set in space that mixes Descartian philosophy with the simple emotional pull of nostalgia, it offers a dispassionate treatise on the concepts of reality, memory and consciousness.

As an engagement of the head, if not the heart, the play just about succeeds and John Exell stands out as the weary, perplexed and resigned Dr Snow.

It is a valiant attempt to mould a coherent and engrossing production out of some very tough material, offering plenty of food for thought – although the metaphysical ruminations can feel relentless.

If this were a report card, it would run at an A for effort, but a more subdued C for attainment. Room for improvement, certainly, but a cap must be doffed for even trying at all.

* Solaris is at the The Courtyard Theatre in Bowling Green Walk, N1, until December 8.

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

Coronation Street star Katie McGlynn has revealed Sinead Tinker worries her injuries will put too much pressure on boyfriend Chesney Brown.

Read more

Brenda Blethyn has said she likes getting in touch with her audience of the future through Henry Hugglemonster.

Read more

New Girl star Jake Johnson admitted that his new film Digging For Fire is based on his own life.

Read more

Promoted content

Valentine's Day Afternoon Tea

London Hilton on Park Lane is inviting couples to celebrate this Valentines Day over a deliciously romantic afternoon tea at Podium Restaurant and Bar. Taking inspiration from the highly popular Confessions of a Chocoholic Afternoon Tea, London Hilton on Park Lane presents the ultimate romantic afternoon out with its Valentine’s Day Afternoon Tea.

Established in 1987, Tucci is one of the North's premier stores for branded clothing, footwear and accessories.

Save up to 70% on designer brands for Men and Women, including G-Star, Diesel, French Connection, Firetrap and many more….our sale is now on.

Nothing says

iWOOT has a great selection of quirky Valentine’s Day gifts for every possible person and partner.

Top Stories

Quizzes

How well do you really know the Tube map?

Everybody thinks they know the Tube map but do you really?

Read more
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]

It’s time to test your knowledge on the two London institutions: the Underground, and the boozer.

Read more
Adrian Chiles is no longer ITV's main man... so why not test your knowledge of some of his (and others') greatest gaffes? (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

With news of presenter Adrian Chiles’ sacking by ITV, it’s a good time to remember some of the most memorable punditry blunders.

Read more