It’s hard to imagine any point in modern history when a husband and wife shared an identical agenda. Or when questions of loyalty/devotion didn’t linger in one form or another.
So after six hours of dialogue with a trusted acquaintance, the pain one feels in discovering that the person you’re married to has never loved you—perhaps even guilty of being unfaithful to you—is daunting.
This is precisely where we find a rejuvenated and defeated Adolph (Noah Reid) in David Greig’s ultra rich adaptation of August Strindberg’s Creditors. He loves his wife immensely but questions have been raised regarding her true modus operandi at which time all the dots start to connect.
All of this thanks to Gustav (Hardee T. Lineham). While it’s hard tell if he’s a saviour or wedge driver, he appears to know a thing or two about ‘sinister phenomenons’ which makes him an expert at performing ‘an autopsy of the human soul.’ ‘This woman is consuming you like a savage,’ he proclaims.
Yet all this speculation seems askew when a ‘very independent’ Tekla (Liisa Repo-Martell) walks in to shower her better half with affection. Is she really ‘a snake that’s eaten its fill’ or a woman who appreciates the balance of power within her sacred union?
Thanks to director Rae Ellen Bodie’s moulding of this stunning melodrama you’ll be guessing until the very end who owes whom in this brilliantly acted piece. Never does she lead the text astray and with a powerhouse cast to sculpture the nuances in all the right places, playgoers are deeply indebted to Coal Mine Theatre’s polished presentation.
If your heart doesn’t go out to Noah Reid’s lovably naïve character its probably because you don’t have one. Engulfed by confusion and agitation, Adolph’s demise is made of the emotional chaos that brings a man to his knees. When it comes time for him to speak his mind, his struggle with truth is palpable.
The always high spirited Liisa Repo-Martell has earned a reputation for shape-shifting on stage but never before like this. Her Tekla is playful, seductive, and scorned all rolled into one. This one may prove to be her best role yet.
And then there’s the theatrically untouchable Hardee T. Lineham. Not only is he one of theatre’s most aurally magnetic artists due to his rhythmically supernatural delivery of text, this time around he’s volcanically intellectual in his assessment of all things feigned. Just wait until you hear Gustav’s his blunt visual interpretation of the naked female body, it’s such a darkly comical howler.
A play of high artistic stature driven by manipulation and revenge, Creditors,in essence, is a game of prones—one that ask questions, another that masters deception, and a third that gives in to temptation. The company’s intimate downstairs venue allows this one to tease and taunt with splendid intensity.
Review by Steven Berketo
CREDITORS by August Strindberg, adapted by David Greig April 26 – May 17, 2015 COAL MINE THEATRE, 798 Danforth Avenue TICKETS $15.00 – $30.00 www.brownpapertickets.comCAST Noah Reid, Liisa Repo-Martell, Hardee T. Lineham DIRECTOR Rae Ellen Brodie STAGE MANAGER Gerry Egan SET Andrea Mittler LIGHTING Siobhan Sleath COSTUMES Ming Wong COMPOSER Ted Dykstra SOUND Richard Lam