Shakespearean actor Greg Hicks returns to London’s Arcola Theatre with Tolstoy’s controversial The Kreutzer Sonata from July 6.
This gripping stage adaptation by acclaimed playwright Nancy Harris will see Hicks work with two musicians to realise Tolstoy’s lifelong wish – a performance of the story with live music.
The Theatre Chipping Norton production of Nancy Harris’s adaptation will see Hicks perform backed by music provided by Alice Pinto (Piano) and Phillip Granell (Violin).
RSC associate artist Hicks will play the enigmatic protagonist Pozdnyshev, who blames a criminal act on Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata. Leo Tolstoy’s short story became instantly notorious on its publication, and was banned in both Russia and America for its radical views on sex and marriage.
Confined within a lonely train carriage, Pozdnyshev is driven mad by jealousy, a disintegrated marriage and the overwhelming power of Beethoven’s music.
He recounts the moment when he watched his wife, a pianist, perform the famous Kreutzer Sonata with another man, and became convinced that the breathless passion of the performance could only mean that they were having an affair.
Famously daunting and dramatic, Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata was declared unplayable by the violinist for whom it was dedicated.
Musical director Harry Sever brings not only the power of the Beethoven Sonata to this production, but atmospheric, newly composed music that echoes and rethinks the original.
It marks Hicks’ first London role since newspaper editor Morris Honeyspoon in the critically acclaimed Clarion at the Arcola.
John Terry’s production opened in September 2015 at The Theatre Chipping Norton. One reviewer said: “It could be the performance, possibly the production, of the English theatre’s year.”
Mehmet Ergen, artistic director of Arcola Theatre, said: “I am delighted to be welcoming Greg Hicks back to the Arcola for this haunting and intoxicating version of Tolstoy’s daring tale.”
The Kreutzer Sonata precedes the Arcola’s 10th Grimeborn opera festival, which plays from July 26 to September 10. The full programme will be announced shortly. Greg Hicks has been a member of The Royal Shakespeare Company since 1976. He was nominated for the Best Actor Olivier Award, and won Best Shakespearean Performance at the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards for playing the title role in Coriolanus at the Old Vic.
Leading RSC roles include the title roles in King Lear and Macbeth, and Brutus in Julius Caesar. He was Orestes in The Oresteia at the National Theatre and Christ in Steven Berkoff’s Messiah at the Old Vic.
The Kreutzer Sonata runs at the Arcola Theatre, London E8, from July 6-23.