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Welcome To Thebes


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#1 Mark_E

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 09:30 AM

Did anyone go to the first preview? Has been very quiet on this one.

Edit: Just booked a last minute entry pass ticket for tonight. Running time 3 hours+. Will report back.

#2 Mark_E

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 10:37 PM

Didn't hate it but didn't find it to be very enjoyable, or indeed very good.

The script was just not very good to be honest. It tried to be serious but then threw in these comical one liners which made it all seem like a bit of a gimmick. The story never truly engaged.
The set was very basic, this is the least imaginative staging of a show I have seen in the Olivier theatre, it was all just the same, and what was there looked cheap.

Performances were generally very good. For any Wicked fans on here Alexia Khadime has a small featured part in which she sings.

#3 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 08:46 AM

I pretty much agree, I was bored out of my skull actually, and after the glorious sets the National has done recently, this did look cheap. My experience wasn't helped by a disruptive audience (probably bored) and someone's mobile phone going off SIX times during act I. Acting was good though.

#4 Guest_Belinda O_*

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 03:08 PM

Yet more pitiful politically correct theatre from the National. This is in the 'must have new plays by female writers' box. And what a yawn it is.

To top it all, before going in I read a load of gibberish by one Nicholas Hytner demanding £70 million more from poor taxpayers to pay for all this tripe!

They're as good as giving tickets away for this show for free for this and other things like Women Beware Women (that's 'get more females directing in the Oliver' box) and that idiotic show by Mark Ravenhill at Xmas and can't sell the place out even for a limited run. What right does Nicholas Hytner have to ask for more subsidy? We've got heaps of wretched 'community theatre' anyway (ditto the lack of interest from the public).

The National should concentrate to being a centre of excellence and producing things like London Assurance and The Habit of Art. Far too much public money is just being flushed down the toilet on junk no-one cares about and we don't need another £70m washed away just so Nicholas Hytner can pointlessly build an empire.

He's supposed to put on a few decent shows a year. That's it. That's the remit. The rest is just money-grabbing propaganda.

#5 Cardinal Pirelli

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 04:04 PM

The post previous to this has no credibility; much of the best directing at the National recently has been done by women.

Theatre is going to have its fair share of cuts but no more, anyone who thinks it should be disproportionately affected is engaging in pointless political hostility.

#6 Marius Pontmercy

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 04:05 PM

QUOTE(Belinda O @ Jun 17 2010, 04:08 PM) View Post
They're as good as giving tickets away for this show for free for this and other things like Women Beware Women (that's 'get more females directing in the Oliver' box)


Most seats seem to be sold Women Beware Women seems to be mostly sold for the remaining performances, so not sure what you're talking about there. And Marianne Elliott happens to be a very successful director who directed what must be the National's most successful production in years - War Horse. Was that also done for "politically correct" reasons? If so, it seems to have paid off.

QUOTE(Belinda O @ Jun 17 2010, 04:08 PM) View Post
The National should concentrate to being a centre of excellence and producing things like London Assurance and The Habit of Art.


Both of which have been criticised on this very forum (unfairly, in my opinion) for being... yes, you guessed it, politically correct! And both of which were, curiously, directed by Hytner himself.

Just to clarify, I have no interest whatsoever in seeing Welcome to Thebes. If you'd argued that it was put on because Nicholas Hytner wouldn't know a good new play if it hit him in the face, you might have a point, but that idea that it was put on to fulfill some kind of quota is just ridiculous.


P.S. What about After the Dance and The White Guard? I suppose the former was just more political correctness (female director!), but The White Guard was surely OK - male director, two male writers, and only one speaking part for a woman.



#7 applesarenice

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Posted 17 June 2010 - 04:40 PM

Contrary to the others here, I actually really enjoyed this. It isn't the most amazingly staged thing to ever hit the Olivier for sure, but it just means that focus is that much more on the acting which is never a bad thing. And its an excellent ensemble, some great supporting roles for Eurydice's Cabinet/Three Graces and altogether I found it an interesting look both at the relationship between developed countries/developing countries and the role of women in politics in general.

I went with a colleague who works in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Rwanda and it was interesting to hear how she felt it was quite authentic in what it was depicting.

The only weakness I felt was the mixing of epic language and pronouncements and the modern-day slang used by most of the characters. There were times when it couldn't quite decide what it wanted to be in terms of the mixing of Greek mythology and West African politics
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#8 foxa

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 08:50 PM

Really didn't like this.  A combination of irritating and boring.

#9 Mark_E

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 08:24 PM

Very surprised at the good reviews in the Press for this one (Ranging 3-5 stars!). I thought the press would thrash it.

#10 foxa

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 05:35 PM

I'm shocked myself.  It was certainly one of the worst things I've seen this year - worse than Polar Bears, for example, and I much preferred the Lanford Wilson play which had similarly muted reviews.  You know when you are sitting in the theatre and you are so bored that you are aware of every cell of your own body - your toes, ankles, thighs, wrists, nostrils....and all those cells would rather be anywhere than in that theatre?  Several people left during the first half.  The woman in front of me was texting.  Actually, that bizarre thing at the Menier - Paradise Found - was more entertaining.  This was trying to be deep but was cliched rubbish.

I felt the reviewers were playing it oddly safe - no one suggested they enjoyed it, but seemed to think it was worthy.  





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