Roberta Taylor, once a leading member of the Citizens Theatre company in its MacDonald-Havergal-Prowse pomp, and probably even better known for more recent roles in EastEnders and The Bill, brought flair, depth and a fine edge of teetering on the brink of an abyss to her depiction of Blixen, pushing the increasingly fragmenting young poet to fulfil her own admonition to the artist (as enunciated in her story Babette's Feast, later a successful film) - "give me leave to do my utmost!".
For Bjornvig (Ewan Donald), this strange pact, hedged around by Faustian echoes, intimations of witchcraft and a powerful psycho-sexual charge, results in the gradual disintegration of his life and marriage. The play is essentially a two-hander, but Romana Abercromby has a linking role as Benedicte, young wife of the poet's publisher and mentor and friend to Blixen.
The onstage action is framed within Catherine Deverell's simple but stylish set, and is physically rather conventional by Dogstar's often fast-moving and complex standards. It is an old-fashioned play in the sense that the dialogue does the vast majority of the work, and Zajac has chosen to honour that, while focusing the action on subtle nuances of demeanour, pose and movement.