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John Gabriel Borkman


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#31 Jan Brock

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 01:22 PM

QUOTE(Jan Brock @ Mar 13 2007, 11:41 AM) View Post
IM does not really specialise in understatement as anyone who saw his Shylock or Jew of Malta can testify, that's why I like him, and also why certain parts are not for him.


Just to please Armadillo, I'll post my thoughts on this. A very good production, not as good as Wild Duck (not as well cast, for a start) but very good nevertheless. I agree with the critic who said that JGB came across more as simply a local bank official who had fiddled the books than some powerful visionary character (so unlike Scofield in the role) but I think that is a valid alternative reading of the role - it makes his self-delusion seem even greater. IM very good - made me believe he could play King Lear soon.

#32 Trev

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 03:17 PM

IM gave a wonderful performance as Edward Bond's Lear a couple of years ago in Sheffield. You are not alone in thinking he is ready for Shakepeare's Lear.

#33 Jan Brock

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 06:58 PM

Who would direct, I wonder, as Jonathan Kent has directed the play with someone else. Of the other Lears in waiting I suppose Derek Jacobi will play it for Michael Grandage. Others actors in line: Michael Pennington ? Has Terry Hands ever directed it ?



#34 Job

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Posted 12 April 2007 - 11:04 AM

I've seen it at last - only a few days before it closes - and I'm mystified by the flak that Ian McDiarmid's been receiving both here and from De Jongh. I'm particularly surprised that for once I don't come at this from the same angle as my normal soul-mate Lynette. Must be a first.

One thing you can say about the hideous Richard Eyre production (and he more than made up for that with his Hedda Gabler at the Almeida a year or two back) is that it certainly stays in the memory. Rarely have I seen a production that's etched itself more completely in my brain, albeit for the wrong reasons: Paul Scofield was simply appalling; Vanessa Redgrave was in grande dame mode and the set, as I mentioned above, was risible. Ibsen was nowhere.

Michael Grandage's production is anchored by three pitch-perfect performances (pace NdJ). McDiarmid's Borkman is a confused, deluded man rather than a caged monster, embittered by his eight-plus-eight years of imprisonment but too washed out to begin life again. After his only tenuous grasp on life (contact with the younger generation) is lost to him, his death scene not only makes sense but has the inevitability of Greek (or Shakespearean) tragedy. Suddenly I thought of King Lear, whereas with Scofield I got no further than Donald Wolfit.

Penelope Wilton and Deborah Findley are outstanding. I shan't discuss them in detail here, but I thought they were the perfect catalysts of Borkman's demise. Grandage clearly remembers that Ibsen chose his plays' titles with great care, which is why the two women act like Regan and Goneril on the old man's psychological state.

It's not all good news. I was seriously disappointed in practically all of the minor performances (good old David Burke excepted), and in the case of three younger players I felt I was watching poorly trained stage school graduands of moderate talent giving their anxious all to try and impress when they've heard an agent might be in.

Job
With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.

#35 Jan Brock

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Posted 12 April 2007 - 11:46 AM

QUOTE(Job @ Apr 12 2007, 12:04 PM) View Post
It's not all good news. I was seriously disappointed in practically all of the minor performances (good old David Burke excepted), and in the case of three younger players I felt I was watching poorly trained stage school graduands of moderate talent giving their anxious all to try and impress when they've heard an agent might be in.

Job


David Burke was much inferior to Michael Bryant in the role I thought. Agree about the the other minor performances. However, I thought the Eyre version of the play was excellent but his Hedda Gabler was truly awful.

#36 Alexandra

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Posted 12 April 2007 - 01:08 PM

Glad someone mentioned David Burke - he was exceptional! But then, he usually is. I loved Michael Bryant but I can't remember him in the NT JGB, which is not a good sign. Actually I can't remember much about it at all, except that Vanessa Redgrave had a cold and boy did she let the audience know it.




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