Tristan & Yseult

March 30

April 13, 2014

in CST's Courtyard Theater

A World's Stage Production
from Cornwall, England
adapted and directed by Emma Rice
writers: Carl Grose and Anna Maria Murphy

Critical Acclaim

"    Top-tier international work…I guarantee you will have a blast. Kneehigh is widely celebrated for its populist storytelling, robust physicality and determination to draw inspiration from the rugged Cornish landscape. The company first shot to international fame with Tristan & Yseult, a piece created in 2004 that deals with the scandalous love affair between a Cornish prince and an Irish princess and that recalls an ancient time when Cornwall was its own nation. Fabulously entertaining and thrillingly theatrical…it will make you want to walk the glorious coastal path of Cornwall, looking at the waves and thinking of the most ancient stories."

"Highly recommended…Tristan & Yseult soars in passionate staging at Chicago Shakespeare. This production employs every playfully transformational trick of theater to probe the human heart. There is elation and laughter, zany dancing, acts of treachery and deception, acrobatic fights, feverish eroticism, ritualistic bloodletting, balloons and aerial ballets, all staged on Bill Mitchell's circuslike shipboard set. In many ways Rice has choreographed this production more than she has directed it, and the performers of Kneehigh are uncanny in their physical daring, grace and sheer goofiness."

"     It seems near criminal that Kneehigh, the widely acclaimed, 30-year-old Cornwall-based company that began touring its work with Tristan & Yseult just over a decade ago, is just now making its Chicago debut. Stylistic variety carries into every area of Kneehigh's carefully capricious aesthetic here, which includes a live band and a delightfully organic, openly theatrical sense of visual spectacle. In adapter-director Emma Rice's thrillingly DIY-inventive staging, you'll believe a boy can fly, but you'll also hear from the characters hoisting him by a pulley—all of the cast members here, leads included, also double as "the Unloved," the hapless minion "lovespotters" who enable the romance from the outside looking in. If this potent potable doesn't get you in the mood, check your pulse."

“Frankly, if this show doesn't make you fall in love with theatre, there's no potion on Earth that can help you.”

"     Halfway through Kneehigh's show, the band were playing, balloons were flying, hearts and minds were connecting and I suddenly realised how rare it is to have this much fun in the theatre. This evening is like a great gulp of refreshing sea air. I loved it with a passion"

"Kneehigh is back—quirky and larky, magical and wild. A spectacular yet intimate show in which the comical, the classical, the heartfelt and the sultry all become one...Did I mention that I loved it?"

"I have never heard such a roar of genuine appreciation. Tristan & Yseult is great theatre, it deserved the standing ovation. It is often breathtaking. Enough, listen, this should be a two word review: SEE IT!"

"Bewitching... lyrical and soulful.”­­

"This inventive production is a bloody delight — exhilarating enough to bring out the devil in everyone!­"

“Extraordinary. Stunningly intelligent dance and musical theater. Kneehigh is back in top form!”

“It’s funny, moving, sexy and a total delight.”

The production executes a little miracle…which takes the mind and heart to an altered state. The result is one of the best evenings in theatre you could hope to find.

"What transpires on stage is something so magical, it seems to hail from an alternate universe where various cultural contexts collide yet manage to mesh brilliantly. With their latest work, Kneehigh has created a production with which theater strays from its classic form and becomes something of fantastic, modern ingenuity."

"First-rate theater lifts our well-cushioned minds and derrières out of life’s doldrums, challenging us to contemplate the great mysteries of human existence: love, hate, honor, betrayal, death, and why zippers always get stuck when we are in a hurry. It also titillates our bawdier senses, tickles our funny bones, threatens our presumptions and steals our breath away with unexpected brilliance and beauty.”

“Wholly original: a wonderful mashup of artifice and whimsy”


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