Emilie Moon Claire Haddleton, Theatre Correspondents

A Transfixing Tess A Must See

Ockhams Razor Tess - Daniel Denton
Photo: Kie Cummings
Ockhams Razor Tess - Daniel Denton Photo: Kie Cummings
The audience were transfixed. You could hear a pin drop for nearly the entire performance. It was just incredible. This was the most mesmerising and beautiful piece of theatre that we have seen for a very long time. I’m not sure any review can do it justice but we will try.

This is a circus and dance style adaptation of the Thomas Hardy classic (created by Ockham’s Razor), not something that you would link with a timeless tale like Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

Photo: Kie Cummings
Photo: Kie Cummings
But it worked, it really worked. Seven very strong performers combine storytelling, acrobatics and dance as they tell the tragic love story of Hardy’s heroine. Only one person speaks during the show- Tess the narrator (ably played by Hanora Kaman); something that one might think could be boring but again, it works.

Accompanied by an atmospheric soundtrack throughout, Kaman tells of her tragic life; whilst the memory of herself is played by the very talented circus performer Lil Naruse. The other cast members support Naruse, using the simplest of props and the simplest of costumes, all cleverly moved and changed whilst on stage. There are planks of wood, cartwheels, subtle projections on the screen behind, tall wooden structures, all adding to the atmosphere and mood. It is a festival of strength and beauty from start to finish, with the harrowing rape scene and execution scene portrayed sensitively and succeeding at pulling the heart strings.

As the lights faded on the tragic ending, there was a brief silence and then the entire theatre rose to their feet to show their admiration and appreciation for the actors, directors but most of all for the most stunning adaptation of this novel ever produced.

100 out of 10! Go and see it.

Tess is on at York Theatre Royal until Saturday
The Cast
Photo: Kie Cummings
The Cast Photo: Kie Cummings