"If this show doesn't make you fall in love with theatre, there's no potion on Earth that can help you." ★★★★★ The Guardian
"One of the masterpieces of 21st Century Theatre" ★★★★★ The Times
"I loved it with a passion" ★★★★★ The Guardian 2005
Adapted & Directed by Emma Rice
Writers: Carl Grose & Anna Maria Murphy
Cornish King Mark is at war; he rules with his head not his heart. But he hasn’t counted on falling head over heels for his enemy’s sister, or expected the arrival of the enigmatic Tristan.
This critically acclaimed production catapulted Kneehigh onto the national stage. This is the original tale of forbidden desires, broken hearts and the agony of choosing one human being over another. Seen through the eyes of the 'Unloved', Tristan & Yseult blends comedy, live music, grand passion and tender truths, in an irresistible night of love.
Tristan & Yseult is one of Kneehigh’s most loved shows which critics have called “a triumph”, “deliriously joyful” and “breathtaking in every respect”. In 2014 and 2015, we took Tristan & Yseult on tour to the US, with shows in St Ann's Warehouse, Brooklyn NY., South Coast Rep, Costa Mesa CA., Arts Emerson, Boston MA. and the Alley Theatre, Houston TX.
"Sink down upon us. Night of love, make me forget I live."
Loved it? Tweet #TristanAndYseult
Recommended age 10+
The Tristan & Yseult company are at the Guthrie in Minneapolis this month. Musical Director Ian Ross shares some thoughts of home with us in his guest blog:
One of Kneehigh’s best-loved shows, Tristan & Yseult is ready for another state-side adventure. Billed by critics as “a triumph”, “deliriously joyful” and “breath-taking in every respect”, this free-wheeling and highly inventive production catapulted Kneehigh onto the national stage.
We are delighted to have been nominated in two categories for the What's On Cornwall Awards to be held in May. It's a public vote, so we need you all to vote for us! Read on to find out how...
We asked Carl Grose about co-writing Tristan & Yseult with Anna Maria Murphy. Watch out for Anna's answers tomorrow
"... the scene stealers throughout the entire show are the actors performing as the chorus-like Lovespotters and musicians. Dressed in sneakers, jeans, rain slickers, hoodies and sunglasses, this band of comedic masters is reminiscent of Gru’s minions from Pixar’s “Despicable Me.” They dance, sing and perform a variety of tasks that add to the show’s magic and imaginative creativity."
"If all this medieval violence and romance sounds like a downer, fear not: This is very likely the funniest version of the Tristan legend ever told, thanks to an ensemble of talented comedians. The Irishmen step-dance; the unloved gawk at the lovers and take notes; everyone interacts with the audience though they're performing in a particularly amusing panto."
"This crossing of emotional boundaries, which sabotages our typical programmed responses as an audience, is the shaping force of “Tristan & Yseult.” And I can’t think of another company that achieves this dynamic as vividly and unexpectedly as Kneehigh does...When Wagner’s unearthly “Liebestod” from “Tristan und Isolde” is heard, you don’t doubt that this canny (and uncanny) production has earned the right to include it."
By Chris Hewitt, Pioneer Press
Kneehigh christens the new year with a crackling good telling of "Tristan & Yseult." by GRAYDON ROYCE in Vita MN
"What transpires on stage is something so magical, it seems to hail from an alternate universe where various cultural contexts collide yet manage to mesh brilliantly. With their latest work, Kneehigh has created a production with which theater strays from its classic form and becomes something of fantastic, modern ingenuity."
"First-rate theater lifts our well-cushioned minds and derrières out of life’s doldrums, challenging us to contemplate the great mysteries of human existence: love, hate, honor, betrayal, death, and why zippers always get stuck when we are in a hurry. It also titillates our bawdier senses, tickles our funny bones, threatens our presumptions and steals our breath away with unexpected brilliance and beauty. Berkeley Rep’s Tristan & Yseult, running now through Jan. 18, is first-rate theater. "
"Meanwhile, at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the U.K.'s award-winning Kneehigh Theater (The Wild Bride) returns to the Rep with a restaging of the show that made them famous a decade ago. With its gorgeous air-born love scenes and soaring acrobatics, the dazzling Tristan & Yseult demonstrates the influence that Cirque du Soleil has had on the theatrical world, creating a remarkable loop of inspiration from theater to circus and right back to theater."
"It's been a good year for Bay Area theater overall, with some stellar productions like SHN's Anything Goes, Black Watch from A.C.T. and the National Theater of Scotland, and No Man's Land at Berkeley Rep. The Rep is closing out the year, as they have the past two years, with a moving and original new production from England's Kneehigh Theatre, Tristan & Yseult. The piece, like their previous Bay Area outings Brief Encounter and The Wild Bride, is a kind of mashup of several texts along with music, movement, contemporary references, and dance. It features the return of Polish actress Patrycja Kujawska (The Wild Bride) playing the title role of Yseult, and the talented Andrew Durand in role of Tristan, along with a terrific ensemble that includes Carly Bawden (playing a role dubbed Lady With the White Hands whose singing voice throughout the show is downright magical), and the hilarious Craig Johnson who spends part of the show in drag as Yseult's handmaid, Miss Brangian."
"I could begin by saying that Kneehigh is Cornwall’s critically acclaimed national theatre, but that would be boring and entirely beside the point. Better to point out that they’ve produced a cult hit that goes to the core of what theatre is all about. Kneehigh is fun, they’re smart, they’re kicky, and their version of Tristan & Yseult has an electricity that I couldn’t have imagined before last night."
"Berkeley Rep's Tristan & Yseult is one of those shows that combines the best elements of modern theatre with good old-fashioned storytelling and does so with amazing brilliance. It all seems effortless, but what does it actually take to bring this ancient and tragic tale of passion and betrayal to life each night with such precision and genius? From across the pond comes Cornwall's Kneehigh Theatre Company with their wonderfully inventive and thoroughly British way of telling stories, and we find that great gobs of cheekiness, imagination and daring are what it takes - but it also needs an enthusiastic audience for the sparks to really fly. I highly recommend that you help make those sparks fly and help in the co-creation of Tristan & Yseult which is playing now through January 6, 2014 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre."
"The thing about a love story is this: you want to feel it. You need to feel it. When Juliet wakes just after Romeo bites it, if you’re not feeling that dagger in your own chest, what’s the point? There are only so many love stories – love gained, love lost, love unrequited – and so many variations. How, then, do you make the story fresh? How do you reignite the passions and make your audience feel it all anew? The shortest answer to that query is: let Kneehigh tell the story."
"This is one of those rare shows that not only satisfies any possible theatrical demands, but has you grinning like an idiot and occasionally on the verge of tears, all in two hours. Marketers could bill this show thusly: "You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll launch flatulent balloons before intermission.""
"An age-old tragic love triangle is made fresh and enchantingly vital in the "Tristan & Yseult" that opened Tuesday at Berkeley Rep's Roda Theatre. It's also filled with all the remarkably inventive, eye-catching theatricality we've come to expect from England's Kneehigh company, not to mention freewheeling comedy. Somehow the plentiful humor only deepens the tragic impact in the end."
"iveting acting, devil-may-care physicality and a whiff of Theatre of the Absurd all contribute to this fully satisfying production—a daringly theatrical quilt. It’s risky when the doors to theatrical potential swing open wide and creative interpretation gets free rein. That can be a recipe for disaster; but here, cast and director embrace the challenge with full commitment and their risks pay off more than handsomely."
"The story is more than 1,000 years old, probably traceable to Cornwall, at the southwestern tip of England, and recounted in many variations and languages ever since. In Kneehigh's hands, it's utterly timeless, delightful and engrossing."
"Unlike many theater troupes performing today, Britain's Kneehigh Theatre — the company behind last year's The Wild Bride and Brief Encounter — appears hell-bent on making sure you have a good time. Kneehigh isn't merely interested in you enjoying the show — although it succeeds swimmingly there as well — but in thoroughly enveloping you in its weird and wonderful world. To that effect, Tristan & Yseult, which runs through January 6 at Berkeley Rep, is the vehicle for that transformation, and it is entertainment at its best and brightest."
"This is one of those rare shows that not only satisfies any possible theatrical demands, but has you grinning like an idiot and occasionally on the verge of tears, all in two hours."
"For heightened emotional drama, you can’t beat a good love triangle – and Kneehigh’s seminal work Tristan & Yseult, first created ten years ago and now back in Leeds to launch a UK tour, is one of the best there is. A powerful, playful and totally compelling piece of theatre it combines romance, humour, movement and music with moments of heart-wrenching poignancy."
Adapted & Directed by Emma Rice
Writers: Anna Maria Murphy & Carl Grose
Composer and Musical Director Stu Barker
Designer Bill Mitchell
Lighting Designer Malcolm Rippeth
Sound Designer Simon Baker
Associate Sound Designer Jay Jones
Original Producer Paul Crewes
Company Niall Ashdown, Stu Barker, Omari Douglas, Tom Jackson Greaves, Kyle Lima, Dominic Marsh, Pat Moran, Justin Radford, Mike Shepherd, Hannah Vassallo, Elizabeth Westcott, Kirsty Woodward