Seven Acts of Mercy and the Rover

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Seven Acts of Mercy and the Rover

Postby Barry » Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:16 pm

The swan theatre, RSC stratford, January 7th 2017

Well I have had a good couple of weeks with the Tempest, Aladdin, Sweet Charity, and now a double bill of these two at the Swan.....my day of indulgence. I should perhaps have seen them the other way round. Seven acts of Mercy was so powerful, and emotionally draining that the big party of the rover seemed hard mood to get into.
But Seven Acts had a great structure though it sounds rather trite on paper. As Caravaggio is painting his seven acts of Mercy and interrupted by his benefactor, a whore, and others trying to kill him, so the play intercuts with modern Liverpool as a dying grandfather tries to pass on all he has left to his grandson - his love of art, and particularly this painting. The boy, battling the state and other social crimes, does indeed, manage seven acts of mercy, just. Very moving indeed, and sat on the front row I was party to all the sweat, some terrifying sword fights and blood letting, and much flesh. A great muscular performance by Patrick O Kane as Caravaggio. I was my usual sniffy self about the use of projections to see the painting emerge piece by piece, but it was an economical way of doing it. I was left drained and elated and shattered by it, and for the Rover I was upstairs, at some remove form the intimacy of the Swan stage, and squeezed into a corner seat, but for all that, the bawdy revels and high octane performances were tremendous. The RSC is great at taking an obscure play (well the rover is not exactly obscure), and throw a band at it, much sex, much dancing and a million sight gags, making a debauched giddy experience, perhaps giddier than the play itself. But no-one was complaining. Two plays about the cost of sex. A great day of two different experiences in the same wonderful space.
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