Posted 11 July 2007 - 04:37 PM
So says Patterson Joseph's Cauchon towards the end of Act 1 and at that moment I realised why Hytner, Elliott & Co. have decided to stage this old chestnut.
I'm no big George Bernard Shaw fan, and I'm afraid this play doesn't remotely win me over (could anyone write about something so mystical so matter-of-factly?). But the inquiry above, and the second act which protractedly portrays the stink of religion, warrant its revival today.
That, and a staging which invests more spirit in it than Shaw himself remotely musters.
I felt it went on forever and then I read that Marianne Elliott has already cut an hour of the original play, which I could frankly get down on my knees and kiss her feet for. Throughout this production I think she and her team do tremendous work pumping relevance and energy into Shaw's lumbering text. As Travelex, it's pretty superb; I hope new audiences are really hooked by some of the electrifying staging, and drawn back to see more plays thanks to the drama evoked by the stagecraft here. Some of the effects are utterly startling and they'll really stay with me a long time.
And fortunately, Anne-Marie Duff just radiates. You feel, or I feel, like this is a real star of serious theatre being forged here. She's so magnetic. I didn't get with the accent they've given her, it distractingly drew my mind (intentionally or not) to other religious conflicts, but her performance (in a part that I feel Shaw fudged badly, failing to explore the internal essence of) is incredibly winning. How I'd love to see her in some Shakespeare. I imagine we will.
Posted 11 July 2007 - 08:58 PM
The Duke of Warwick was brilliantly played and I found myself wishing that his scenes could be triple as long, so I hope those weren't the ones that were shortened. I had seen the actor before and remembered him as outstanding, it's time I find out who it is. Anne Marie Duffy was an excellent choice for Joan and I'd be very happy to see her in anything else, be it Shakespeare or not.
The ending was a bit drawn out and soppy, but I can live with that. I've booked to see it again later in the run.
Posted 12 July 2007 - 09:23 PM
Many differences with 'Saint Joan' - The Dauphin is a much more important part in the Anouilh and Cauchon is brillantly created. The Trial scene (always a high point in Shaw's drama) is even better in the Anouilh. It would suit Chichester's stage for starters, but would work well in proscenium arch also. Dorothy Tutin and Donald Pleasance confirmed the promise of their emerging talent in the British première in 1955.
Posted 13 July 2007 - 12:47 PM
Posted 13 July 2007 - 01:50 PM
St Joan at the National Theatre has a staggering relevance to modern society, despite being written 80 years ago and concerning events occurring over 500 years ago. There is much use of music and some of the best choreography in London at present. The story is witty, involving and superbly performed by one of the finest ensembles that the National has mustered for years. If you can take listening to dialogue, then hurry along – as part of the £10 Travelex season this is the best value the West End (OK the National is not strictly WE) has to offer.
On Wednesday there were two full calls - and they could have done more, but that is perhaps not surprising at a press night!
And who could see that the road would twist
Posted 13 July 2007 - 04:19 PM
I forgot to mention the music - I loved it, especially the opening passage
Posted 13 July 2007 - 09:30 PM
I've written a full review at:
Posted 14 July 2007 - 05:24 PM
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users