The Most Dangerous Toy
Review by Felix Trench
In the early 1880s, the 21 year old Louise von Salomé arrived in Rome. Here she would meet two men: the author Paul Rée, with whom she formed a relationship, and his friend Friedrich Nietzsche.
Nietzsche’s growing passion for her forms the basis of Playades Theatre Company’s The Most Dangerous Toy. Devised by the cast and director from original texts – letters, works, poems – the show charts Nietzsche’s feelings for Salomé and her effect on his work. A two-hander between Nietzsche (Jamie Laird) and Salomé (Maria Alexe), Paul Rée remains forever just off-stage, forbidding in his invisibility.
The show is performed with minimal set: a series of washing lines hang over the stage holding photographs, images and texts. These Laird removes and repins as he sees fit, reorganising Nietzsche’s thoughts as he reorganises his life. The show is not a philosophy lesson, it is a delicate character study of a man driven mad by love. Laird is thrilling to watch, his detailed performance presents a man at times full of puppyish optimism, at others writhing in despair.
The Most Dangerous Toy runs at The Spaces at Surgeons Hall, Theatre 2 (Venue 53) on 3, 4, 6 – 11 and 13 – 18 August at 7.05 pm (50 min).
Felix Trench is an actor and a gentleman based in London.