Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2022 review: A Tale of Two Cities
- Credit: Camilla Greenwell
Charles Dickens’ tale of oppression and retribution has inspired many a fascinating spin-off.
On a speculative search, Crib and Fly: A Tale of Two Terriers (anonymously written in 1876) caught my eye.
But perhaps that’s because the company who stage this anarchic retelling of Dickens for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival at St Andrews Hall are called Lost Dog.
Based in East Sussex, they were founded in 2004 by Ben Duke and Raquel Meseguer.
The company has already knocked out successful new versions of Paradise Lost and Romeo and Juliet.
The challenge of recreating a narrative is to keep the audience with you, so just to make sure we know what’s going on Lucie (Nina-Morgane Madelaine) comes out at the start to have a chat.
“I am Lucie Manette” she informs us, “my mother is also Lucie Manette.” We are told (to general giggles from the audience) to take out pen and paper and write things down so we don’t get confused.
- 1 Roads closed as armed police and dog units swoop on Norwich home
- 2 WATCH: Taxi driver throws punch as narrow street causes aggro
- 3 Cannabis factory discovered in Norwich home after police raid
- 4 City garden centre launches street food nights with popular vendors
- 5 Sign of the times: After 187 years jeweller Winsor Bishop changes name
- 6 WATCH: Shock for drivers as car goes the wrong way on A47
- 7 Dodgy door halts city man's house move by MONTHS
- 8 Neighbours' fears after cannabis farm raided in city
- 9 REVEALED: New leisure venue replacing Riverside Chinese
- 10 Most desirable places to live in Norwich according to estate agents
But we are quickly caught up in the intrigue: a story in which the nasty crimes of a French aristocrat send guilt and anguish down through generations of one blighted family.
Lost Dog play fast and loose with the original text, setting the female experience centre stage and improvising their own elegant lines as they unpack each episode.
Lucie the mother gets the lion’s share of the action, but as her daughter films the evening for a fictional documentary, hers is the eye we look through.
The last remaining victim of their family’s crimes weaves her pain through their story.
It all unfolds against the backdrop of the family’s ruined home, a place visibly undermined by the sins of the past.
A blank, sloping ceiling becomes a projection screen for the documentary which is live-streamed as it is made.
And although the cinema verité style perhaps lacks the sensational drama of the novel, the expressive movement sequences reveal its heart.
The Norfolk and Norwich Festival runs until May 29, book tickets at nnfestival.org.uk