Therese Raquin at Bath Theatre Royal

TR - A Steadman, D Barrit, C Mills, M Mears - Photo credit Nobby Clark - (ref120)EMILE Zola’s intense novel Therese Raquin gets the Helen Edmundson treatment at Bath Theatre Royal this summer.

This new adaptation, steeped in the inescapable power of unleashed passion and guilt, is on stage at Bath until 16th August as part of the summer season.

The adapter’s work with Shared Experience is evident in Jonathan Munby’s whirling production. Played on Mike Britton’s versatile set, it takes its audience on a trip through the tilted perspective of mood.

Therese is the poor relation in the Raquin household. Taken in as a baby, Madame Raquin’s niece is little more than a servant to the whims of cousin Camille’s sickly whingeing. Her own wishes are ignored, so when she reaches maturity it’s no surprise that aunt Raquin decrees that she and Camille should marry.

And a loveless business it is, leaving Therese unfulfilled and skittish, gazing skywards at the migrating swans with a longing for something she can’t understand.TR - Kieren Bew (Laurent) - Photo credit Nobby Clark - (r31)

When a vibrant young man comes into their stultifying circle of Thursday night domino games, she is awakened … and the outcome is immediately inevitable.

This brilliant production sweeps the audience from French village life into an edgy Paris, and, like the original, provides enough moments of real tension to keep you guessing how it will all pan out.

Alison Steadman manages to make the monstrously manipulative Mme Raquin into a sympathetic figure, with Pippa Nixon as the sleeping tiger of Therese and Kieran Bew as her salvation and her doom.

TR - Alison Steadman (Madame Raquin) - Photo credit Nobby Clark - (ref105)Hugh Skinner, so hilarious as the “cool” intern in W1A, is the spoilt Camille, a selfish and childish hypochondriac whose horrible fate is at the centre of the story.

The cast also includes delightful performances by Desmond Barrit as the superintendent and Michael Mears as the railway time keeper.

Therese Raquin is a story of unbridled passion, domination and descent into madness, subtly brought to life by an exceptional cast in a production that superimposes the ordinary over the far recesses of the febrile mind.



Photographs by Nobby Clark

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