Monday, 17 May 2010


A couple of days ago I went to see Kursk at the Liverpool Everyman. Worth seeing although oddly less engaging than I expected. The audience mills around within the set which is a kind of fat submarine with control room in the centre, bunks to one side, captain’s cabin in one corner and crew dining area in another. That gives a particular intensity to it all. But despite the inherent drama of anything set in a submarine, the real events of the Kursk sinking (only an aspect of this show despite its title) and another key element of the plot, it was not as involving as I’d expected. Perhaps things moved just a little too hurriedly. Or perhaps it was still a bit too stagey.

But there was one particular point of interest. Atmosphere was provided by a claustrophobic near constant set of background sounds. Standing where I was, this made listening to the dialogue a bit of a struggle but after a while I had the sense that I understood the outside noises, that I could hear the significance in the bangs and echoes.

That reminded me of the experience I used to have listening to unfamiliar Shakespeare histories at Stratford. For the first few moments (perhaps minutes), I would struggle to decode the English. Then suddenly it was a transparent medium for thought. The noises in Kursk cannot have been quite that but suggested it.