The Blue Room
Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 22 Jan–Sat 26 Jan
Mention David Hare’s adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler’s La Ronde to even the most occasional of theatregoers, and there’ll be instant recollections of its notorious nude scenes, originally featuring Nicole Kidman, and Telegraph critic Charles Spencer’s description of the play as ‘theatrical Viagra’. It would be foolish to claim that the piece doesn’t have an element of voyeurism to it, yet there are more subtle observations to be made within this fly-on-the-wall glimpse of many human sexualities than obvious jollies of insight into the bedroom habits of its characters.
Taking in an array of a dozen characters, from prostitutes to students to cab drivers and on to an errant politician and his wife, the piece looks at relationships, sexuality and power, and goes a long way to sorting emotional sheep from goats. If there’s an element of power and trust in any relationship, and folk are liable to be hurt, there are differences between those who hurt people in order to empower themselves, and those who do so out of simple emotional incompetence.
Joe Gallagher, producer for this piece from Replico, feels that these differences also manifest themselves through different kinds of people employing disparate strategies in their relationships. ‘The most interesting element of this play is the sexual politics and the deliberate tactics and layers you see in these characters. The idea of the status of the characters in society and their secret passions as well as the different levels of deceit employed by people is continually fascinating,’ he says.