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Lay Down Your Cross


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#1 fringefan

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 01:52 PM

Nick Payne's plays are starting to fall into two distinct types for me, though I say this on the basis of four only at this stage:  there are the full-length plays which I've really enjoyed (If There Is, I Haven't Found It Yet and Wanderlust) and the shorter pieces (Constellations and Lay Down Your Cross) which had something but were unsatisfying.  It's almost as though he writes differently for the two formats, though I may be alone even in seeing a distinction, let alone a difference.  I have said elsewhere that I prefer to see what I would call "proper" plays, both in terms of length and plot development.  For me, what Lay Down Your Cross had in common with Constellations was that although the characters might have been interesting, the lack of background and narrative progress was frustrating.  Too many questions left unanswered.

#2 xanderl

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 05:07 PM

Thanks fringefan - you may feel like a lone voice in the wilderness but this is useful!

I always forget about the Hampstead Downstairs stuff as it doesn't get officially reviewed.
"witty ... both made me laugh but also gave me pause" - Mark Shenton, The Stage

#3 padawan

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 05:08 PM

Well it's my first Nick Payne play, but I agree with you fringefan on having something but unsatisfying at the end. The family in the play try to go through a big incident happened in the past, but it never goes deeper and say something new. Worth watching though, superb cast :)

#4 steveatplays

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 05:40 PM

Nick Payne's play is remarkably uneventful. A family come together for the funeral of one of their own, each family member struggling to deal with grief, loss and blame. The title suggests the theme: that those who lay down their cross will best succeed in moving forward. The cross metaphor even extends to the mother of the family getting a nail stuck in her foot! Anyhow, despite little happening, and despite the fact that what does happen is fairly straightforward and everyday, the play possesses an odd sullen power. Much credit goes to the performers. Susan Wooldridge is terrific as a soused, clumsy and deliberate ex-wife. She offers the only tragicomic performance, as funny as it is sad. Lucy Phelps cannily carries the burden of her bitter politics like a coiled but superficially civil snake. The most touching performances are those of Andy de la Tour (Tony, father of the dead boy) and Angela Terence (Raph, fiance of the dead boy), as two people living in the here and now, doing day to day things, and tenderly helping each other through the tidal waves of pain and grief. 4 STARS.




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