An acclaimed new production of The Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoy – adapted by Nancy Harris and starring RSC Associate Artist Greg Hicks – will transfer to Arcola Theatre from Wednesday 6 to Saturday 23 July.
Hicks will play the enigmatic protagonist Pozdnyshev, who blames a criminal act on Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata. It marks his first London role since newspaper editor Morris Honeyspoon in Clarion at the Arcola, described by Michael Billington as ‘a tremendous performance’.
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.
This gripping stage adaptation by acclaimed playwright Nancy Harris will see Hicks united with two musicians to realise Tolstoy’s lifelong wish – a performance of the story with live music. John Terry’s production opened to great acclaim 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.”
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 comes to life with the exceptional talents of Alice Pinto on piano and Phillip Granell on violin.
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 Arcola’s 10th Grimeborn opera festival, which plays from 26 July to 10 September. The full programme will be announced shortly. Tickets for The Kreutzer Sonata are available now.