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Lover, The

Lover, The

In 1984 the great French novelist Marguerite Duras wrote the story of her own youth in Vietnam, a personal truth told in passionate, vivid fragments. These incandescent glimpses of remembrance became one of the most acclaimed and widely read books of modern French literature. Read more …

Now three of Scotland’s major performing arts companies are collaborating in theatre and dance to bring her story to the stage; taking us back to 1929 when a fifteen year old girl crossing the Mekong Delta first catches the attention of an older Chinese man and accepts a ride in his chauffeured limousine. She has no idea how this chance meeting will change her life forever.

50 years on, looking back on their illicit affair which flared and died, she finds the intensity of her first love still burning bright in her memory. It illuminates a past fraught with the confusions of the lovers’ ruthless desire, her own dysfunctional family and the divisive colonial culture which pulled them all apart.

The critical consensus

For a production about memory, The Lover barely lingers in the mind.

***(*)(*)Michael Cox, Across the Arts

The Lover is a fearless display of erotica; a gorgeous fusion of uninhibited dance and drama that is a visual and sensuous delight.

****(*)Irene Brown, Edinburgh Guide, 24/01/2018

Pulsed by Torben Lars Sylvest's languid musical mash-up of chic fourth world rhythms and avant-cabaret nouveau chansons, what emerges is an ennui-laden living collage of sound and vision, where past, present and possible futures converge as one.

****(*)Neil Cooper, Coffee-Table Notes, 24/01/2018

A production that lacks an overarching vision, and never quite seems sure of its ultimate direction.

***(*)(*)Hugh Simpson, All Edinburgh Theatre, 25/01/2018

Poorly conceived, and even more badly executed, this deeply disappointing offering does no favours to a classic of 20th-century French literature.

Mark Brown, Scottish Stage, 25/01/2018

Colonial conceit, rabid racial division and cultural taboo seems as speciously relevant now as ever was.

****(*)John Kennedy, The Edinburgh Reporter, 25/01/2018

Overall, this is a hugely disappointing production, which leaves little in either area to please dance lovers or drama lovers.

**(*)(*)(*)Stephanie Green, The Reviews Hub, 26/01/2018

You appreciate it as a good-looking experiment, but it’s one that keeps the lid on its passions.

***(*)(*)Mark Fisher, The Guardian, 26/01/2018

This feels like a missed opportunity, a theatrically and emotionally underwhelming experience.

**(*)(*)(*)Allan Radcliffe, 25/01/2018

An experience that finally seems more like a brief, elegant reminder of the novel, than a new and exciting theatrical engagement with it.

***(*)(*)Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman, 26/01/2018

For all the production’s promise of being “an irresistible blast of sensual heat for the dark days of January,” however, the reality is that The Lover lacks full-on passion, or a reason to care.

***(*)(*)Paul F Cockburn, Broadway Baby, 29/01/2018

An elegant production but translation from memoir to the stage does not always find a theatricality in the script.

***(*)(*)Gareth K Vile, The List, 31/01/2018

Unfortunately, the way the dance and drama have been combined make it impossible to fully enjoy either.

**(*)(*)(*)Ben Reiss, Plays to See, 24/01/2018

They’ve made a work which mesmerises and troubles in equal measure.

David Pollock, Exeunt, 03/02/2018

Features about Lover, The

Fleur Darkin and Jemima Levick--Putting Marguerite Duras' The Lover onstage.

Neil Cooper, Coffee-Table Notes, 09/01/2018

Jemima Levick and Fleur Darkin on The Lover

Amy Taylor, The Skinny, 12/01/2018

Theatre Preview: Fleur Darkin and Jemima Levick on blending theatre and dance in The Lover, their new production for the Royal Lyceum

Mark Fisher, The Scotsman, 16/01/2018

Marguerite Duras--Auld Alliances En Route to An Endless Remembering

Neil Cooper, Coffee-Table Notes, 24/01/2018

Where and when?

Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh from Saturday January 20, 2018, until Saturday February 3, 2018. More info:

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