Theatre preview: The Driver’s Seat
- Lorna Irvine
- 15 May 2015
The National Theatre of Scotland drive Muriel Spark’s metaphysical thriller
Artistic director of The National Theatre Of Scotland Laurie Sansom follows up his successful run in Edinburgh and London with Rona Munro’s James Plays with an adaptation from another critically- acclaimed Scottish voice, Muriel Spark.
Her classic short novel from 1970, The Driver’s Seat, is a psychological thriller: not so much a who dunnit as why they dunnit. The protagonist Lise’s detached nature is the antithesis of conventional female narrators, and Spark conjures a world of confusion and doubt, where the narrator reveals they are about to be murdered, and her wanderings trace a nihilistic path across Europe. Spark called it her favourite novel, it won a posthumous prize for her in 1974.
For Sansom, this ambiguous tale was perfect for adaptation. ‘It combines her razor sharp wit and crisp narrative voice with an enigmatic central figure,’ he explains, ‘that slips in and out of focus until its final shocking conclusion.’
Featuring an impressive lineup, including Morven Christie in the title role as Lise, with supporting roles from Michael Thomson, Gabriel Quigley and Ryan Fletcher. With a set design by Linbury Prize winner 2013 Ana Ines Jabares, Sansom should bring a skin- prickling new aesthetic to a challenging and provocative study of one woman’s alienation in an uncertain and terrifying terrain to a whole new theatre audience.
Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, Fri 19–Sat 27 Jun; Tramway, Glasgow Thu 2–Sat 4 Jul.