Olivier Theatre, London, SE1
Opened 23 February, 2001

Harold Pinter and Di Trevis's adaptation of Proust's mammoth seven-novel sequence works like a dream, in every sense.

In less than three hours of playing time, Trevis (who directs) creates a vast tapestry of memory, in which people and events jostle against one another, sometimes without ever being fully explained. This, like Pinter's unfilmed 1972 screenplay on which it is based, is a version which trusts the audience to take hints and make connections for itself, and we respond by one accepting the atmosphere of the piece rather than hankering after simple linearity.

Trevis's staging has an appropriately dreamlike pace and feel, as figures flit across the largely bare stage of the Olivier; Dominic Muldowney's music also contributes to the ethereal air of protagonist Marcel's reminiscences. Pinter's perspectives on social ritual, memory, and the ineluctable mysteriousness of desire seem to mesh well with Proust's own, although we may now find bewildering some aspects of Proust's homophobia. Trevis's production, which began life as a project with drama students at LAMDA, is a surprise and delight, and is evidence that supposedly unstageable or unfilmable works can sometimes bear unexpectedly beautiful fruit.

Written for

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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