by Paula Citron
David Edgar’s Pentecost is the kind of play that only a Stratford Festival could do. The characters are multitudinous and the themes are epic.
The setting is a post Soviet-era Eastern European country going through a difficult transition. Lucy Peacock, leading a very strong cast, plays an art curator who finds a fresco on the wall of an ancient church. The fresco, which shows a drawing that uses perspective, predates Giotto who was thought to be the founder of modern art. And so begins a tangled web of how this earth-shaking discovery will be exploited. Edgar doesn’t stop there. The second act has the church invaded by asylum seekers and so culture and politics collide in a terrifying way.
Edgar is playwright as preacher, but one doesn’t mind getting clubbed over the head with messages because Bulgarian director Mladen Kiselov has created a production that radiates both tension and intelligence.
Pentecost continues until Sept. 21.
From the Stratford Festival’s Studio Theatre, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.