The Illusion

Pierre Corneille (Tony Kushner)

The Illusion

A lawyer, desperate to find the son he drove away years before, engages the services of a mysterious magician, who conjures up magical visions of the romantic, adventurous and perilous life the lawyer’s son has been living before finally revealing the ultimate truth. 3.0 out of 5 based on 6 reviews
The Illusion

Omniscore:

Location London
Venue Southwark Playhouse
Director Sebastian Harcombe
Cast Charlie Archer, James Clyde, Daniel Easton, Daisy Hughes, Adam Jackson-Smith, Melanie Jessop, Shanaya Rafaat
From August 2012
Until September 2012
Box Office 020 7407 0234
 

A lawyer, desperate to find the son he drove away years before, engages the services of a mysterious magician, who conjures up magical visions of the romantic, adventurous and perilous life the lawyer’s son has been living before finally revealing the ultimate truth.

Reviews

The Independent on Sunday

Kate Bassett

Theatregoers unfamiliar with the original might well be surprised to learn how divergent this version is. Kushner has cut whole scenes, and invented a hunched lad, Daniel Easton's Amanuensis, who's kept in thrall by Alcandre. But who's complaining when Kushner has enriched the drama with extra twists and darker psychological depths. Moreover, his freely inventive poetic dialogue is bewitching: vivid in its imagery, baroque in its eloquence, and more philosophically searching than Corneille.

02/09/2012

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The Times

Sam Marlowe

At the heart of the piece is an assertion that only love — intangible, indefinable, described by Alcandre as “a magnificent rose, smelling faintly of blood” — is truly real. Through the artifice of theatrical performance, the conventions of romance and of filial duty are illuminated and exposed as threadbare, as is Pridamant’s lawyerly concern with status, money and quantifiable fact.

28/08/2012

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The Evening Standard

Henry Hitchings

The cast consists mainly of recent Rada graduates. The most striking performances come from Charlie Archer, fluent and engaging as Clindor, and from Adam Jackson-Smith as the absurd Mattamore, a lisping fop who manages to be both flamboyant and delicate. Shanaya Rafaat also makes a keen impression as a wily maid.

29/08/2012

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The Guardian

Michael Billington

In a way, the play looks back to Plato's allegory of the cave, to Prospero in The Tempest, and forwards, by three centuries, to Pirandello's fascination with the shifting boundaries between art and reality. The one heart-stopping moment in Harcombe's production comes when the imprisoned Clindor lets out an agonised cry of "Father!" as if reaching out to the silently watching Pridamant. Lively as Kushner's version is, though, it turns Corneille's play from a passionate defence of theatre into a debate about the illusion of love.

27/08/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Daisy Bowie-Sell

‘A man has a right to expect coherence!’ – there’s brilliant irony in these words, spoken by Pridamant, who is standing in a hovel and has just asked for help from a magician. But here we’re also cleverly reminded of the original context of this play – Corneille was fighting against the most prominent dramatic theory of the time: Aristotle’s ancient ideas that clarity and unity of plot was vital. ‘I do love a twist’ says Pridamant and so, it seems, did Corneille. Nothing played out here can be trusted and the playwright takes much pleasure in confusing and deluding us, and indeed Pridamant.

28/08/2012

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Time Out

Andrzej Lukowski

There is a worthwhile pay-off to all this, when illusion and reality finally reconcile. But for the most part the conceptual bells and whistles simply serve to make a fairly bland romantic romp that bit more ungainly. Kushner has some fun with rhyming verse, but you wouldn't say he'd really left his stamp on proceedings.

24/08/2012

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