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Fringe Show Reviews

Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Tes

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Darkly evocative writing and a virtuoso performance are nearly scuttled for want of an editor in this modern re-telling of Thomas Hardy’s mournful classic, Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

Don’t worry, you needn’t have read it. This version follows Kes, a working class Newcastle lad whose glimmers of good luck always turn bad. He’s a descendent of Lord Byron, which later fuels his passion for spoken-word poetry. But he gets wrongly convicted of raping his upper-class teacher, loses a BBC slam poetry contest and then the love of his life, among other calamities.

British actor/writer Steve Larkin’s staccato words conjure an almost tactile world of council-estate life in northern England, and his characters are full and real and wonderful. But at 90 minutes, it becomes an exercise in artistic ego. What could be an intense exploration of a thwarted modern life is crushed by too many words, too many lurching plot twists, too many trips to the Glastonbury music festival. Friday night, two young audience members actually walked out with 10 minutes to go.

— Mary Agnes Welch

 

From the Fringe program:

Director: Martin Dockery / Lizzie McBain

Cast: Steve Larkin

Tess of the D'Urbervilles re-imagined

Thomas Hardy's tragic heroine brought back to life in the 21st century as a teenage boy from the wrong side of the tracks who is found to be descended from a famous Romantic poet.

Riveting spoken word theatre from award-winning "tragically prescient" (Edmonton Journal ****½ stars) UK artist Steve Larkin.

"This fierce retelling of an old classic needs to be seen" - CVV Magazine

"One of the best shows at the Fringe" - Victoria Times Colonist ****½ stars

Audience Classification: Mature

Length: 90 mins.

Tickets: $10

Door Discount: $9 for Seniors

Warnings: Coarse Language, Sexual Content

More on the Web

History

Updated on Saturday, July 19, 2014 at 5:36 PM CDT:
adds review

Updated on Monday, July 21, 2014 at 7:58 AM CDT:
Corrects spelling of Kes

Updated on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 11:09 AM CDT:
Video added.

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