While it has taken the Disney musical 15 years to tour, Crime And Punishment is now at the final stop on its schedule, its home run at Glasgow Citizens being followed by three weeks at Liverpool Playhouse, which also co-produced the show. I was onside with it before Adam Best's superb Raskolnikov uttered a line, the actors mill about the open stage in a Brechtian fashion as we took our seats.
It is not a huge cast, but even 10 players is a rarity in these times, at least without the backing of National Theatre of Scotland (NTS).
No offence at all to the NTS, but that absence made me even fonder. Here a conglomeration of theatres, from both sides of the border, had made possible the sort of show that many people in Edinburgh (or Glasgow) will only see during the International Festival. It is staged, by Hill and designer Colin Richmond, with exactly that sort of ambition, and it has been done without the NTS stamp of approval that some in Scottish theatre now seem to regard as a prerequisite of attempting anything of scale.
When Hill moved from the Traverse to the Gorbals, he made much of wanting to restore the grand theatrical vision and winning way with classic texts that had been associated with the Citizens under Giles Havergal, Philip Prowse and Robert David Macdonald, and this show certainly has some of the look and feel of the classic Citz productions that provided much of my own theatrical education. In terms of the soundscore (and I mean no disrespect to "Uncle" Derek Watson who added the musical element to many fine Citizens shows), it is even a cut above, with Nikola Kodjabashia's music - largely played live onstage by the actors on percussion and strumming piano strings, double bass and balalaika - one of the glories of the production.
That acting company reminded me a lot of a Citz cast of old too, with the excellent Best sparring with George Costigan as his police nemesis Petrovich for the chief honours, but there was real strength throughout the ensemble, including talented people recently out of drama school.
A few shows transferred to London from the Havergal-era Citizens, but most did not, and if it irritated us fans to see the West End "rediscover" a lost Schiller, Coward or Pirandello that we had enjoyed a season earlier, we could only imagine what those who had made the shows thought, because they would never have said. That this Crime had its touring getaway planned from the start is a development that should be applauded and encouraged.
Crime And Punishment is at the Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh until November 9