Troika

Great composers sometimes create a theme that is so captivating or remarkable that other great composers write variations on it. This is done as a tribute to its merits, rather than because they are short on good ideas themselves. Acting Coach Scotland’s Troika overtly pays homage to Arthur Schnitzler, but it is an unworthy offering to him.

There are moments in Troika where the seeds of emotion and tense encounter begin to sprout and some of the cast reveal they have substantive performing skills.

La Ronde, which provides the structure for Troika, should come with a large caveat emptorattached to it. In its day it was regarded as a scandalous portrayal of Viennese society not because it was inaccurate, but because it dared to expose the immorality and hypocrisy of its time. Its impact came from showing the outward observances of polite society to be a sham. It laid bare the fact the people from different stations in a highly stratified society actually mix together, especially for purposes of sexual gratification. The interwoven layers were revealed by one character from each short scene carrying over into the next.

The UK in the 21st century bears little or no resemblance to that society. Take any pairing of people and there is little chance of shocking anyone by putting them together. There is nothing new or astonishing about marital infidelity, or a soldier hooking up with a prostitute, or a film producer expecting a script writer to accompany him to bed in exchange for funding. Trying to make it so requires far more depth of plot and ingenuity than a few casual scenes.

There are moments in Troika where the seeds of emotion and tense encounter begin to sprout and some of the cast reveal they have substantive performing skills. There are other times when cliches kill a scene and the interminable ‘f-word’ covers for a paucity of vocabulary, while references to Twitter, Netflix and chat sites fail to provide contemporary cutting-edge imagery.

Acting Coach Scotland’s claim that Troika is ‘the sordid, sexy story of 10 pairs of lovers, entwined and interconnected in a faithless cycle that’s as dirty, funny, sensual and cruel as sex itself’ is, at the very least, a gross exaggeration. There is far more food for thought here for the company than any audience.  

Reviews by Richard Beck

Turbine Theatre

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★★★
Brockley Jack Theatre

every seven years

★★★
Arcola Theatre

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★★★
Lion & Unicorn

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★★★★
Jermyn Street Theatre

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★★★★
The Space

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★★★

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Performances

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The Blurb

Freely adapted and loosely based on the controversial La Ronde by Arthur Schnitzler, Troika is the sordid, sexy story of 10 pairs of lovers, entwined and interconnected in a faithless cycle that’s as dirty, funny, sensual and cruel as sex itself. Performed by full time students of Acting Coach Scotland's Professional Diploma in Stage and Screen Performance.

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