A Tale of two cities is a vibrant adaptation of Dickens’ novel by the dance theatre company Lost Dog. Continuing their work on reinterpreting classics, Ben Duke and his company Lost Dog bring yet another contemporary presentation with A Tale of two cities. Lucie the central character, is a film-maker who explores her family history. She tries to shine a light on their mysterious past: her grandfather has been locked in the Bastille for 18 years, and her parents had to escape France at the height of the revolution. We are plunged into the French revolution in 1793 through the story of her family that emigrated to England. Following her, we discover the truth about her family history in France.
Dickens’ 400 plus page novel is brilliantly distilled into a 90 minutes stage presentation intertwining multi-discipline artforms where family histories eventually collide. Written with the use of flashbacks to recall the memories of Lucie’s father and mother the story is a complex mix of characters and narratives. Lost Dog did an impressive adaptation of this novel, transforming it into a dynamic play. The set created by Amber Vandenhoack separates the stage into two spaces: a half-ruined farmhouse on which Lucie’s filming is projected and the rest of the stage where the cast performs. The audience easily navigates between the two narratives. A special mention to Will Duke’s projection designs that mix Lucie’s live interviews with pre-recorded footage of different moments of the story projected onto the farmhouse walls.
The theatrical performance is punctuated by some magnificently expressive dance interludes. Along with spoken words when the performers start to move their bodies to express their feelings, the play reveals its beauty. The use of different artistic means of expression transports us through the various narratives and time flies in The Place theatre, consequently bringing the family memories out of the shadows.
Lost Dog will be performing at The Place until March 5th before going on tour. You can get your tickets on this link: https://www.theplace.org.uk/whats-on/collections/lost-dogs-tale-two-cities-tour.
Reviewed by Alix Berthelot–Moritz- Alix is a volunteer writer for Abundant Art. Originally from Normandy, France, she follows her passion for journalism and art by studying at the European Political and Social Sciences of UCL, London. As an international student living in London, she is determined to fully experience and discover the entirety of the city’s vibrant arts scene and share the beauty of it through her writing.