Welcome To Thebes
Posted 15 July 2010 - 10:12 AM
All My Sons is a great production and much the easier, but Welcome to Thebes is the more interesting play.
Posted 26 July 2010 - 10:24 PM
Chuk Iwuji is always worthwhile and gives us a suitably strongman/pathetic Tydeus. It's absolutely chockfull of very good supporting woman actors. I wasn't totally convinced by Nikki Amuka-Bird as Eurydice, but I do rather like the idea of a democratic Thebes electing her.
Maybe the analogy to the modern day is a bit heavy handed, and sometimes the language jars as it goes from full-blown tragedian to swearing, but that might just be me being a bit old-fashioned. It is, like all Greek drama a bit wordy, though with more action than the real ones.
An evening well spent (especially for £10 courtesy of our kind sponsors at Travelex)
Posted 29 July 2010 - 10:21 PM
It was so chockful of issues - women, exploitation, reconciliation...no mention of climate change. Be thankful for small mercies. I suppose it was written for the Olivier which demands a big cast and lots of rushing about and shouting so she fulfilled the brief ok and buried amongst the trashy swearing and the inaudible were some good exchanges and funny bits. I liked the coterie of women ministers of state being serious and gossiping at the same time.
I didn't like the yelling at the audience, the guns scene and Tiresius, all cliches. It was too long because it was repetetive and I worry that she hasn't done her cause any favours here. It was goodies v baddies - you could have dressed them in cowboy outfits and set it in the wild west almost. We patronise Africa all the time and I am worried that this kind of play just does that - the scene with the guns lacked all credibility [ as frankly any scene with automatic rifles on the stage does because it immediately makes you see actors not characters]
A quiet play with the intensity that the main character was aiming for in her agonising recognition of her own hate, so her, the new President stuck in a hotel room with a couple of Athens diplomats, an aide and a secret service woman would make all the points without the gung ho. Something like Copenhagen with the false memories would make the same points.
And isn't Ruined making all the same points too and so much better?
Posted 18 August 2010 - 09:58 AM
I was helped by attending a Platform talk beforehand involving the playwright Moira Buffini and Royal Holloway College academic Edith Hall, which teased out some of the issues in Greek mythology and war-ravaged states trying to rebuild, and did it well for a general audience. It also helped that I read the programme notes before the play started, which I advise anyone attending also to do (the same advice applies for anyone going to 'Danton's Death' also at the National).
The play began a bit crudely yet it was appropriate bluntness, made clear the sense of social breakdown, and swiftly the play got going. A war-ravaged state in which so many men have died, is run by women who need to reconstruct civilisation but whose funds are limited. They face internal opposition just as they welcome rich neighbouring Athens to visit in the hope the latter can help, which pits need against greed. The play is aware of the apparently predestined nature of reality, classical theme, and on the other hand that people can make history, a tension that had me thinking I should read some of Edith Hall's books and that this is not really about something so out of time or far away.
The designer has got the set just right: former grandeur in ruins, yet suggestive of a building site the country must become in peace. It is well directed and the characters are fascinating in a play that really moves along. There is some terrific acting individual and ensemble: clearly enunciated, passionate, witty, subtle by word and facial expression, quiet, tragic, representing big issues and universal concerns. I go to the National regularly and this is among the best things I have seen there in a while. When award-time comes around later in the year, I would be surprised if this production does not attract several nominations and possibly win prizes. See this and you'll see why.
Posted 02 September 2010 - 11:51 AM
Was about to book for this for tonight, but having just read this thread i've decided there's other plays i'd rather spend my money on!
Posted 06 September 2010 - 12:04 PM
Personally I did not like this much at all, but both my companions did like it. The opening 5 minutes were maybe the worst I've had in a theater this year. Continues my run of not enjoying anything in the Olivier this year.
On another note, there must have been only about 20 people max in the Circle and there was plenty of room in the stalls as well.
Posted 10 September 2010 - 12:17 PM
Danton's Death (As above)
London Assurance (I know, I know, but personally I did not find it funny.)
I saw Nation in 2009 and Every Good Boy Deserves Favour in it's 09 Run as well.
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