Touching the Void thrillingly realised on stage
- Philip Wilson
- 17 January 2019
Tense film adapted for theatrical drama
A real-life tale of pioneers venturing to achieve a technical feat never before completed, Touching the Void's transition to the theatre – replete with critically acclaimed stagecraft – chimes with the adventurous spirit of its subject.
It tells the story of Joe Simpson and Simon Yates' attempt to scale the West Face of the Siula Grande, in the Peruvian Andes (put to paper by Simpson in 1988, before the BAFTA-winning 2003 film adaptation) and their subsequent death-defying descent, during which loyalty and self-preservation end up in a life or death conflict.
Touching the Void is a co-production between Bristol Old Vic's Artistic Director Tom Morris (Tony Award-winning director of War Horse) and the Royal Lyceum Theatre's Artistic Director David Greig (The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart); Greig describes the work as, 'a tale that has reached beyond just the climbing world and become mythological.
'We had no idea how to do climbing on stage – we just knew it would take a thrilling theatricality to realise this book… It's an existential thriller that will have audiences clinging on to the edge of their seats'. Between Greig's scripting skills that have made him one of Scotland's most popular and critically acclaimed playwrights, and Morris' sensitivity to a spectacular yet rich dramaturgy, Touching the Void aims to be more than an adaptation of a popular film but a startling expression of theatre's potential to create a sense of danger and immediacy.
The Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh, 24 Jan – 16 Feb, then touring.