Posted 28 February 2007 - 03:51 PM
Posted 05 March 2007 - 12:31 PM
Posted 05 March 2007 - 02:41 PM
Posted 05 March 2007 - 03:01 PM
Posted 05 March 2007 - 11:05 PM
Posted 06 March 2007 - 04:04 PM
Posted 09 March 2007 - 09:50 AM
Saw Coriolanus this week. One approaches Stratford with some trepidation these days. What kind of hit or miss production is one going to see? There have been too many of the latter this season to my mind - the appalling Romeo and Juliet got the season off to the worst possible start, Julius Caesar was if anything even worse, there was, IMHO, the disastrous recent Richard III, and then frivolous waste of space that was Merry Wives: The Musical. King John in the Swan was the high spot of the year for me. If Coriolanus does not quite achieve those heights, nevertheless there was a sense of relief that the play had been seriously and responsibly presented. First and foremost it told the story directly and clearly. For those who have never seen the play before - and from interval conversation it was clear that this was quite a number - it was a good introduction. If the production never quite hit the heights of Alan Howard's wonderful 1977 performance it was nevertheless effective amd moving. William Houston has the makings of a good, if not great, Coriolanus. I was, however, slightly disappointed with both Janet Suzman and Timothy West (Volumnia and Menenius). The strength of the production lay in its supporting cast (often a weak point at Startford) - a brilliant Aufidius, but above all definitive performances as the Tribunes, Sicinius Velutus and and Junius Brutus, the best I have ever seen. They were the real driving force of the play. And the design, with all the pillars, aided their scheming. Thank goodness we were spared the SAS storming Corioli.
Sad though to think this is the last time the main house will be seen in its present form. It has been a much under-rated venue. Admittedly nobody would sit in the Balcony by choice (as I first did in 1960) and the rebuild will remove that handicap. I just feel all the Stratford venues will be too much the same with a thrust stage. I think the Swan is greatly over-rated (and extremely uncomfortable). I just hope the new main house avoids its pitfalls.
Posted 11 March 2007 - 08:49 AM
Posted 11 March 2007 - 11:09 AM
Yes, lets have a society of refuseniks who excoriate the over-rated Swan. It's not only the sightlines, the hideously uncomfortable seats, the inadequate foyers, loos, bars, etc, but the effect the venue has on the directors and actors who work within. It seems to me to induce an atmosphere of smugness, an indefinable, but unmistakable pleased-with-itself trendiness, with minimal design and an untterable sameness about the experience. I just fear the new 'main house' will be a bigger version of the same.
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