In her program notes, director Martha Hanry describes seeing a production of Strindberg’s The Dance of Death at Stratford fifty years ago, directed by and starring Jean Gascon. She also comments that this play cannot be performed by just anyone. It requires three actors of talent and experience, which she has in Jim Mezon as the Captain, (Edgar), Fiona Reid as Alice and Patrick Galligan as Kurt.
The play is gripping from beginning to end. At first, it seems like the ordinary bickering of a long married couple.Then it evolves into paranoia. The question is which of the pair is the paranoid? The suspense is maintained to the very end, with your sympathy shifting from one character to the next, depending on who is speaking.
The shocking scene in which Alice forces Kurt to his knees is the beginning of the end.
The final scene is astonishing, it is so unexpected. Strindberg is not a happy man or a happy playwrite, but his plays are certainly worth watching.
This play was definitely number two for the week. It is still in oreviews, so I expect it will get even better.