If you like high, often somewhat inexplicable levels of drama, then August Strindberg's ‘Creditors’, adapted by David Greig at the Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh, is the play for you.
‘Creditors’ features only three real characters. The protagonist Adolph (Edward Franklin), who is married to beautiful novelist Tekla (Adura Onashille), and the mysterious Gustav (Stuart McQuarrie), who throws a spanner in the works of Adolph and Tekla’s marriage.
First and foremost, this is a very well staged play. The scenery is simple but beautifully worked. The actors are also all commendable throughout. It’s just a shame that the text they are enacting is, at times, utterly - utterly - absurd. The play of course premiered in Denmark long ago, in 1889, and it's a bold choice to revive it. We found the play a really mixed bag.
The play opens with Adolph - and let’s not pretend that when you hear the name Adolph said aloud, you don’t get caught a little off guard - completely lovestruck and suffering as he is talked into becoming a frankly pathetic jealous wreck by Gustav, who Adolph naively believes to have saved him.
This discussion is almost like Gustav is a figment of Adolph’s imagination; the devil on his shoulder, egging him on with, amongst other things, shocking misogyny. Adolph lets him talk him into a state of horror verging on non-existence.
Where the problem lies is in Adolph’s absolute gullibility, which is exemplified nowhere better than in the fact that Gustav even manages to talk Adolph into believing that he will be struck down by epilepsy, with which he has no prior history, if he has sex with his wife in the next year. Adolph, for one reason or another, does not question this. It’s fairly ridiculous.
You could argue that this gullibility in medicine in particular comes from the fact they're in the late 19th century, but this time period really isn't established. Anyone watching could think it was 2018, making this entire plotline just downright odd. It takes away from both characters.