Ticketmaster Summer in Stages

The Double

Adaptation of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel by Kate McGregor
Theatre 6
White Bear Theatre
(2010)

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Dostoevsky thought his rambling, complex and disorientating short story wasn’t that good. Published in 1846, the critics tended to agree with him; but with time its reputation grew.

A downtrodden minor Russian clerk, totally socially inept, suffers a psychological breakdown, which starts in paranoia and ends in madness. He is convinced he has a double. But is there really a double? Or is the action taking place entirely in his head? The novella is deliberately ambiguous.

Kate McGregor, artistic director of Theatre 6, has decided that the double exists and updated the action by two years when Tsar Nicholas I was cracking down on dissidents.

She fields two manic grimacing caricatures in the leading roles and they work well together. The only regret is that Ben Galpin, as the deranged clerk, and Freddie Machin, as his jolly, teasing, vicious Doppelganger, don’t look more alike.

McGregor’s production shows considerable promise. Sometimes, musically and vocally, the cast is too loud for so small a Fringe theatre space and the dialogue becomes inaudible.

Reviewer: Robert Tanitch