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New Orange Tree Season


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#11 dude-1981

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 10:15 PM

Did The Times really say that?  Blimey, there are so many more laughs in this than Absent Friends.  It's a really good bit of new writing and deserves to be supported.

Welcome to the site Punk Rock.
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#12 fringefan

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 05:33 AM

I'm still hoping to catch the current production of Absent Friends but having seen this yesterday, I would recommend it.  It's excruciating to watch at times, but only in the sense that you are aghast at some of the things the characters say and do, and it's also very funny, or at least, I found it so.  I did find myself thinking "this is SO reminiscent of Ayckbourn", though apparently this persistent comparison irks the author.  But you speak as you find; he was originally a protege of Ayckbourn and I wouldn't see this comment as a criticism.

#13 SHk

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 08:57 AM

Yes, The Times was very dismissive about this play. But thanks for your recomendations folks.  I shall try to get a ticket for this play. And anyway, it's always a pleasure to be in this theatre.  Also, the consistancy of the standards of the plays they put on there is quite impressive.



BTW, I also liked Absent Friends.

#14 Punk Rock

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 11:18 PM

Thanks for the welcome Dude 1981.

Shk - I will be surprised if you are disappointed.

#15 SHk

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 12:15 AM

View PostPunk Rock, on 24 February 2012 - 11:18 PM, said:

<br />Thanks for the welcome Dude 1981.<br /><br />Shk - I will be surprised if you are disappointed.<br />
<br /><br /><br />

Thanks for the encouragement. I have finally decided to go Sat. afternoon, but it was sold out. Luckily they sell standing tickets if it's sold out for 7 pounds (by ringing the BO only). Some other dates were also sold out.

#16 The Suburbanite

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 10:47 AM

I saw Muswell Hill and for the most part enjoyed it. There was a slight Mike Leigh vibe to it, especially the character of Simon. The lecturer character was very funny if in a rather superficial way. There is some very good dialogue. The Haiti earthquake device is somewhat bolted-on, it'd still be an enjoyable play without it. Everything tailed off towards the end but the journey was still entertaining enough.
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#17 SHk

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 08:36 PM

View PostThe Suburbanite, on 09 March 2012 - 10:47 AM, said:

&lt;br /&gt;I saw Muswell Hill and for the most part enjoyed it. There was a slight Mike Leigh vibe to it, especially the character of Simon. The lecturer character was very funny if in a rather superficial way. There is some very good dialogue. The Haiti earthquake device is somewhat bolted-on, it'd still be an enjoyable play without it. Everything tailed off towards the end but the journey was still entertaining enough.&lt;br /&gt;
&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;<br /><br />

Almost exactly my impression. <br /><br />Simon was by far the most interesting character and I think it was very well acted. Dan Starkey who played the role sat next to me during the mini-play after the main show (New Writers' Season, what a bonus!) and I had a brief but nice chat with him. Appearently, his long monologues (well, lectures?) are hard on his throat. He said he just had enough voice left for the very last show tonight.<br /><br />

I wasn't totally convinced by the main couple's problems (Mat and Jess). 1)Mat didn't look as if he really loved his wife so much.  2)And why would his wife, Jess, have an (still un-consumated) romance with an electritian from her office when she has such a gorgeous husband only because he is a wanna-be writer and financially depends on her?

<br /><br />As for their widowed friend Karren, I am not sure it was well acted or stereo-typed. Maby the former as she looked genuinely fond of Simon in the end.<br /><br />

Annie and Tony, I would prefer a re-write, as well as the Haiti earthwake thingy.<br /><br />

I think it is reasonablly well-written, but I wan't sure what the point was. It looked more like a list of ideas quite well put together, but with frequent voids in between. This may be due to where I was, which was upstairs standing (space). So, if I'd sat downstairs, I might have felt more engaged.  I don't know.<br /><br />

In some plays such as Absent Friends, long pauses work well. They are very natural. But in this play, long silent stare such as the one Jess gave to Tony when she discovered her younger sister's &quot;fiance&quot; was an old man felt very much put upon and drawn out. I don't think it was expertly handled. Other than this, I felt that there were slightly less-than smooth/natural moments throughout the play.<br /><br />

But I found having a real, working kitchen as the centre piece of the set is such an attractive thing, as was in The Kichen in Bush Theatre last year. I think the set was used well, but this play somehow didn't feel like a finished product.

Finally, I found the secene change routines slightly odd. Usually, actors change positions during a black-out. But in this play, they just freeze during a black-out and proceed to the change positions when the lights come on again. What pourpose does it serve? I wasn't sure.

#18 The Suburbanite

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 09:02 PM

I don't remember any particularly long pauses.

Well, I think the "gorgeous husband" thing is somewhat subjective! I'm a straight male so not the best arbiter perhaps, but he looked a bit small-faced and weedy to me. I can imagine some would find him attractive though. I didn't find anyone in the play especially attractive, physically or otherwise. I could see how Jess might seek affection elsewhere - despite how gorgeous you might have found Mat, if Jess's final character assassination of him was true I'm not at all surprised she'd seek an affair. She painted a picture of an ineffectual non-achiever, contrasted with the 'lover' who mends and builds things.

The impression of the widow's married relationship rang a little unfeasible to me, her character didn't come across as someone who'd link up with a political firebrand/human rights activist type.

I quite liked the kitchen set too. I was front row downstairs so got the cooking smells. Didn't like the idea of the monkfish stew - I like monkfish and I like a stew, but they gave the impression this had been simmering for a long time. Monkfish is quite firm but by that point it would have disintegrated!

The play is definitely in the category of unremarkable destination, but fairly enjoyable journey.
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#19 SHk

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 09:26 PM

I found a lot of pauses/quiet moments especially in the first half an hour or so.  To me it looked almost as if putting silent moments was a trendy thing to do in play-writing (i.e. putting them for the sake of it).

As for Mat, I thought he resembled a younger version of Brat Pitt a bit. So, generally-speaking he could be called reasonablly good-looking?

I see what the playwrite was getting at in un-published writer vs electrition who wires cables (I don't think electritians acutally 'build' houses), but isn't it too simplified?I imagine Jess could well feel lust towards the electritian, but real love only because he wires cables? And Mat ending the play by collasping (well, on his computer) in a pool of tears in despair? Not a convincing connection. I didn't like this ending either, incidentally.

Apart from Simon, who is an extraordinay character and was very well acted IMO, all the guests were a little far-fetched. Birhgt ideas but not sufficiently developed. I really didn't like Annie and Tony thing. I also hoped Tala who played Annie acted the drunken scene better. Her slur sounded fake.

BTW, when the actors drink wine or whisky, are they real or just colourd water? I imagine whisky is usually just cold tea or something, but today wines (red and white) looked very authentic.

Anyway, I am still glad that a completely new play is being shown in my loca ( and often packed)theatre. Keep up the good work!

#20 SHk

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 10:09 PM

View PostThe Suburbanite, on 09 March 2012 - 10:47 AM, said:

<br />I saw Muswell Hill and for the most part enjoyed it. There was a slight Mike Leigh vibe to it, especially the character of Simon. The lecturer character was very funny if in a rather superficial way. There is some very good dialogue. The Haiti earthquake device is somewhat bolted-on, it'd still be an enjoyable play without it. Everything tailed off towards the end but the journey was still entertaining enough.<br />
<br /><br /><br />

What's a Mike Liegh vibe?




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