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Absurdia


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#1 foxa

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 04:22 PM

Saw the second preview of this and was underwhelmed.  It's hard to pinpoint why exactly it didn't work as an evening, as there are a lot of talented people involved and I have a rather nostalgic fondness for Theatre of the Absurd.  The best play, by quite a bit, was A Resounding Tinkle which opened the evening.  It was presented very much as a period piece with tea cosies and net curtains and pebble-dashing abounding, while the sets were changed by actors and stage managers wearing bowler hats.  But the laughs weren't plentiful, despite the apparent good will of the audience.  The second and third plays fared even less well.  The actors were fine - the young actress reminded me rather of a female Noel Fielding from the Mighty Boosh (a good thing in my book), the older actress, who'd I never seen before (Judith Scott, I think, didn't get programme) seemed rather a find.  But I went away feeling I'd been a rather gauche idiotic teenager to have found this stuff so interesting in my youth.

It is a short evening, no interval.

Final thought: it was rather like going to a dinner party and only being served three starters.

#2 coated peanuts

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 06:33 PM

QUOTE(foxa @ Jul 30 2007, 05:22 PM) View Post
Saw the second preview of this and was underwhelmed.

I had tickets for the first preview and didn't manage to go in the end, so in a slightly evil fashion I'm quite glad that by the sound of it I might not have missed the theatrical highlight of the year.

#3 Lynette

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Posted 06 August 2007 - 07:21 PM

I think many people have missed the point of the NF Simpson plays. I'm not saying it is the most riveting night at the theatre but for anyone who is also seeing The Hothouse and is generally interested in the progress of British theatre, it is fascinating. Here is the origin of much of the telly comedy of the 50s and 60s and beyond, the sheer banality of domesticity that Morecombe and Wise [sitting up in bed] displayed to us all; here is the word play that leads onto Stoppard, and the ding dong nature of dialogue that Beckett perfects; here is the inkling of that menace which underlies all of Pinter's brilliant work. The Frayn was merely [ don't get me wrong, I'm not disparaging an entertaining piece] an exercise in farce by  a guy who is a tip top intellectual writer and I wondered why given the chance to follow on from Simpson he seemed to go backwards. I was expecting something cutting edge, something dark and yet funny.

#4 Theatresquirrel

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Posted 11 August 2007 - 10:10 AM

"MRS BRANDYWINE!!!!"

Been a while since I disagreed with anyone on this site, but boy do I disagree with foxa.

I saw Absurdia last night and it's PURE PLEASURE.

Resounding Tinkle is wonderful, an exuberant delightful constantly disarming little oddball (especially Uncle Fred's entrance, and all references to the terrible Mrs Stencil) but then the pace just ups and ups in the extraordinary Gladly Otherwise which, on its own, is my play of the year so far. It's probably about 15/20 minutes of sheer giddy magic. Judith Scott and the other guy who isn't Peter Capaldi are just breathtakingly gauche in it. I could've watched it six times in a row and not got bored by it.

I fear that, as ever, the reviews will tell too much about the 'plot' of these plays when the pleasure is really not knowing what on earth might happen next. I'm almost loathe to mention anything, but can't resist saying - in the abstract - that the business about the wallpaper and the kidneys and the collander in Gladly Otherwise is just dementedly wonderful. "Chock-a-block!" I want to say that if you like Beckett's short comedies you'll like it, but if you like Victoria Wood As Seen On TV you'll like it equally, and if you like Monty Python's Flying Circus I'd guarantee you'd be tickled by it too. The entire audience last night were guffawing away at it. It's real 'guffaw' stuff so if you haven't had a good guffaw in ages, now's your chance.

And it all means something too, if you want it to. Both Simpsons' plays hold a funhouse mirror to the way we do things perhaps without much thought as to why we do them. We've all said and done the things that the Paradocks say and do in A Resounding Tinkle but just with different nouns attached.

And then there's the Frayn which is quite a different beast to the Simpson and for a while - for me at least - it took time to get used to another writer's style and language and ethos just after we'd settled in with the other guy. But then Frayn is a master craftsman and his play just becomes more and more boundless and exciting, the way he piles another conceit upon another like Jenga. Make of it what you will but by the end I was pretty much under the 'illuuuusion' (as the radio says in the first play) that I had seen a compact treaty on the total artifice and superficiality of theatre and, possibly indeed, of existentialism.

It may not be the theatrical highlight of the year but I'm so glad I saw it, and will definitely see it again.

I may even change my Whatonstage name to Mrs Brandywine, I loved her so much.

#5 Alexandra

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 07:21 AM

Loved it too. Favourite moments were holding down the floorboards, chock a block, and especially the wallpaper!! laugh.gif And for something more directly satirical, the radio church service. And shimmering like a mirage. Wonderful stuff.

#6 foxa

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Posted 20 August 2007 - 04:09 PM

I'm glad to hear that Absurdia is tickling some funny bones.  However I saw it in
previews, so perhaps it's sharpened up since.  The audience's reaction, including mine, were
decidedly muted that night.

For anyone wishing to make up his/her own mine, I just received the offer below in my
in-box:

BEST AVAILABLE SEATS JUST £15

Just a reminder to those that have yet to see ABSURDIA - a triple-bill of British Absurdist comedies - we have a special ticket offer of best available seats for just £15 for this Bank Holiday weekend.

Valid: Friday 24 August 7.30pm and Saturday 25 August 2.30pm and 7.30pm (tickets normally up to £29).

Call the Box Office on 0870 060 6624 (no bkg fee) and quote ‘£15 email offer’

To view the e-flyer click here – http://donmarwarehouse.e-flyers.org.uk/absurdia


#7 Tulip

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 10:50 AM

QUOTE(foxa @ Aug 20 2007, 05:09 PM) View Post
I'm glad to hear that Absurdia is tickling some funny bones.  However I saw it in
previews, so perhaps it's sharpened up since.  The audience's reaction, including mine, were
decidedly muted that night.

For anyone wishing to make up his/her own mine, I just received the offer below in my
in-box:

BEST AVAILABLE SEATS JUST £15

Just a reminder to those that have yet to see ABSURDIA - a triple-bill of British Absurdist comedies - we have a special ticket offer of best available seats for just £15 for this Bank Holiday weekend.

Valid: Friday 24 August 7.30pm and Saturday 25 August 2.30pm and 7.30pm (tickets normally up to £29).

Call the Box Office on 0870 060 6624 (no bkg fee) and quote ‘£15 email offer’

To view the e-flyer click here – http://donmarwarehouse.e-flyers.org.uk/absurdia


I too saw it in previews and loved it and I feel most of the audience did too. I really did love the Simpson plays and the Frayn I did too but I agree with Theatresquirrel that It took quie a while to get used to.





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