With Achim Freyer’s charming production of Ferdinand Raymond “The Bound Fantasy,” Raimundspiele Gutenstein set a standout at this year’s Lower Austria Festival on Wednesday night. The observer Johannes Kreich himself acts as a court jester. The big downside: 88-year-old Fryer couldn’t accept the applause for the premiere, he had been hospitalized hours before.
It wasn’t exactly Raimund’s most accessible piece that Krrish first chose as Raimundspiele’s artistic director. On the other hand, it concerns the existential themes of the present, about – as Fryer notes in the program brochure – “the plants that sustain nature, art, and peace with their intoxicating pictorial realms full of creative energy, and an oasis threatened by envy, greed, power and selfishness.”
The visuals are captivating from the start: Fryer designs a fairy-tale-like theatrical space, sometimes immersed in nightmares, where imagination seems untied by chains. Rapidly changing projections, lighting effects, and unforgettable costumes all contribute to this. Hermione (Larissa Fox), Queen of Flora, looks pathetic in her long red train and must marry a successful poet. Amphio (Tobias Reinthaller) passes on stage as a shepherd with a series of balloons, as Nachtigall bassist, Eduard Wildner, who was already a Gutenstein veteran, receives sympathy. Krrish is a bitter idiot who spews out a lot of Nestorian kindness.
Tommy Hojsa, Matthias Jacic and Franz Haselsteiner are responsible for functional dramatic music, which sometimes includes quotes from Johann Strauss. If there is an open desire, it is for fresh air: the Gutenstein Theater Tent (also remodeled by Freyer on the outside) is in short supply. All in all, a great poetic production worth watching.
(Service – Raimundspiele Gutenstein, Ferdinand Raimund: The Bound Fantasy. Direction and design: Achim Freyer. Shows until August 7, tickets and information: Tel. 02634/7220, www.raimundspiele.at)
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