Kneehigh’s “Tristan & Yseult” at Berkeley Rep—playful, profound, high-energy
Based on an ancient tale, Tristan & Yseult is an epic love triangle between two men—the warrior Tristan and his uncle Mark, the King of Cornwall—and the beautiful young Irish woman, Yseult. Britain’s Kneehigh Theatre, under the direction of Emma Rice, brings the story to glorious life at Berkeley Rep’s Roda Theatre where it has its West Coast premiere. This beautifully choreographed and staged performance sealed Kneehigh’s reputation a decade ago and the revised show is now touring internationally. With a script by Carl Grose and Anna Maria Murphy and a score by Stu Barker, the production is so fresh and inventive that it extends the very boundaries of theatre while expanding the dialogue between past and contemporary culture. The performance stars Andrew Durand as Tristan and Patrycja Kujawska as Yseult and features a phenomenal young cast. In constant churning, beat-bopping motion, they do it all—act, sing, dance, fly through the air, play instruments—and are a delight to behold. Creative touches include Yseult’s maid, Brangian, in drag, some very acrobatic love scenes which transpire on the mast of a ship, a riotous crew of Love spotters as the chorus, and a cabaret that above the stage called the Café of the Unloved from which Ian Ross and a small band of musicians deliver a musical mash-up featuring tunes from sources as divergent as Nick Cave, Roy Orbison, Bob Marley, Irving Berlin and Wagner. You’ll be blowing up balloons, dancing at the intermission, singing along and wishing there was a CD to buy afterwards of all the great music.
Adapted and directed by Emma Rice
Writers: Carl Grose and Anna Maria Murphy
Running time: 2 hours and 15 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission
Details: Tristan & Yseult runs through January 6, 2014 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison Street @ Shattuck, Berkeley, CA 94704. Performances are Tues-Sun with matinees on Sat, Sun and some Thurs. Tickets: $29 to $99. Discounts: Half-price tickets available for anyone under 30 years of age; $10 discount for students and seniors one hour before curtain. Tickets and info: 510 647–2949 · berkeleyrep.org
Parking: Paid parking is readily available at over 5 parking garages as close as one block from the theatre. The Allston Way Garage, 2061 Allston Way, between Milvia and Shattuck, offers $3 parking Tuesday–Friday after 6 PM or all day on Saturday or Sunday when your garage-issued parking ticket is accompanied by a free voucher ticket that is available in the theatre lobby. These new tickets accommodate the newly automated parking garage’s ticket machines and are available in a pile located where the ink stamp used to be.
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