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Vengeance, Bloodlust and Afternoon Tea Anyone?



Review by Emma Whitelaw

THEATRO Technis presents three fascinating and rarely produced plays by Heiner Müller, Medeamaterial, Heartpiece and Quartet. Each extraordinary text is met with the equally extraordinary talents of the cast and director.

Cradeaux Alexander is simply stunning as Medea in Medamaterial. Based on Euripides' original tale, Medamaterial is an intriguing reworking of the age old tale of the scorned Medea’s revenge upon ex-lover and father of her children, Jason.

Alexander performs the entire piece naked, wrapped discretely in a flowing red cloth that hangs from the ceiling. The cloth and nakedness are both symbolic and I found the presentation to be very effective.

Another inventive addition was the use of microphones throughout all three pieces. In Medamaterial, Alexander is surrounded by four microphones at four different levels. This gave a very interesting visual effect as the actor writhed from one to the other.

Heartpiece is an incredibly short piece or skit if you will. It is so short that to say much more about the piece would spoil the plot. I will say that it was most amusing and provided a befitting link between the two other plays.

The final and longest of the three plays, Quartet, features two characters which are played by four actors.

A quirky yet comical adaptation of Choderlos de Laclos' novel, Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Quite often the two actors would recite their lines in sync with one another leaving one to finish the speech.

Both Ava Burton and Antonia Schnauber were excellent as Madame de Merteuil - as were Rohan Quine and David Sayers as Valmont.

Dressed in black and white, the girls romp sensually about the stage, bearing their breasts at times. The men are equally as decadent, as they candidly take on the role of Mme de Tourvel.

I must admit, however, that I found myself a bit lost among the text. Perhaps because I am not familiar with the original work, but it could also be because, at times, the lines were delivered far too quickly to fully appreciate what was being said.

Vengeance, Bloodlust and Afternoon Tea: Armageddon, Cupcakes and The Poisonous Love of Heiner Müller’s Medeamaterial, Heartpiece and Quartet is a lavishly sexy creation. It is by far the least mainstream production I have seen this year.

It certainly won’t cater to everyone’s taste – but if you are blessed with an open mind, you will find it as intriguing as you will funny.

Vengeance, Bloodlust & Afternoon Tea: Armageddon, Cupcakes & The Poisonous Love of Heiner Müller’s Medeamaterial, Heartpiece & Quartet written by Heiner Müller. Designed and directed by Cradeaux Alexander. Presented by iMind Theatrical Productions. Starring Cradeaux Alexander, Ava Burton, Rohan Quine, David Sayers and Antonia Schnauber. March 24 to April 10 at Theatro Technis, 26 Crowndale Road, London NW1 1TT. Box office 020 7387 6617.

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