You need a real brew of tensions to cook up a properly brooding Latin American magical-realist atmosphere: here we've got the memory of a dead son, a decades-long crusade to secure a military pension, a fighting cock who's fed while the family starves, and heaven or Father Angel knows what else. Against an astounding set (all bare planking and pull-down quick-change traps), Bernard Hepton's Colonel pursues his twin obsessions with quiet tenacity in the face of his distraught, asthmatic wife.
Marquez's work doesn't stage easily once you've got the visuals and the aforementioned atmosphere in place; there's no real dramatic destination to aim them at – but Walter Acosta's adaptation works better than most, despite occasional lurches towards Last Of The Summer Tequila. If you can make the adjustment to the untheatrically sedate pace, though, it's quite a luxuriant piece in its way.
Written for City Limits magazine.
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
Return to index of reviews for the year 1991
Return to master reviews index
Return to main theatre page
Return to Shutters homepage