Hicks steals Chippy Theatre spotlight

Greg Hicks stars in the Kreutzer Sonata at Chipping Norton Theatre. Photo by Ciaran Dowd
Greg Hicks stars in the Kreutzer Sonata at Chipping Norton Theatre. Photo by Ciaran Dowd

A one-man show starring Greg Hicks performed in the intimate surroundings of Chipping Norton Theatre certainly had all the makings of a winning combination.

And the finished production of The Kreutzer Sonata didn’t disappoint as RSC veteran Hicks presented his latest role with gusto.

Based on Leo Tolstoy’s novella, the stage adaptation was an emotional thriller that saw the main man take us through his recollections of a disintegrated marriage.

Sat on a deserted train bound for an unknown destination, Pozdnyshev (Hicks) describes watching his wife play music with another man - and how it left him haunted by the overwhelming power of Beethoven’s compositions.

Jealousy descends into paranoia, desperation and, finally, murder, as he details his wife’s betrayal and makes some shocking revelations.

Despite a slow start in terms of pacing, the momentum of the play soon quickened as the story took shape. The character progression of Pozdnyshev was fascinating to watch as he started to unravel and made the audience question the reliability of his narration.

Hicks’ intensity in the role of Pozdnyshev was only heightened by the contributions of the two musicians who joined him on stage. Pianist Hannah Watson had a great feel for the emotion of the music and Justin Wilman was also superb on the violin.

But this show was very much Hicks’ to own. To captivate the audience for an unwavering 90 minutes is no easy feat and his ability to sustain such an energised performance for that time should be (and was) applauded.

The Kreutzer Sonata continues for three more performances at Chippy Theatre - tonight (Friday) at 7.45pm and tomorrow (Saturday) at 2.30pm and 7.45pm. Call 01608 642350 to book.