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Three Kingdoms

Lyric Hammersmith

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#1 fringefan

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Posted 05 May 2012 - 11:54 PM

This 3-hour British/German/Estonian production has to be the weirdest thing I've ever seen in the theatre.  Apart from any merits it may have, it's almost worth watching just because it is so peculiar and different - or at least, I found it so.  The unexpectedly long running time was a real challenge for me (and the two acts are unevenly split, at an advertised 1 hour 50, then 50 minutes) so even holding out until the interval felt like an achievement, but I was so fascinated by the utter strangeness of the play - if play it is - that I was compelled to see it through.  I won't attempt to describe or explain the plot and don't envy the critics trying to sum it up and make sense of it but most members of the packed audience seemed to enjoy it and it has apparently been well-received abroad.  Simon Stephens has certainly sprung a surprise on us this time!

#2 Punk Rock

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 02:08 AM

I see what fringfan means - it is weird but fascinating.

I think it is fair to say that if you like David Lynch movies you will like this play.

A thought provoking, and engrossing night at the theatre but maybe not to everyone's taste.  A good example of showing that however grisly the subject matter, it can be turned into entertainment.  I found that the 1hr 50mins of the first act went surprisingly quick.

Never a dull moment in this play - at times it is very funny. 

A great deal of audience appreciation at the end - a prolonged curtain call which was well deserved. </p></p>

#3 Parsley

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 08:19 PM

It really is quite the most odd thing I have ever seen

It's too long and weird but strangely addictive

I suppose you have to see to believe it

#4 xanderl

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 01:35 PM

Some very negative reviews in the press for this
"witty ... both made me laugh but also gave me pause" - Mark Shenton, The Stage

#5 Punk Rock

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 04:11 PM

Yeah, I thought the Time Out one was the best, and closet to my own view, and the Standard was reasonable although the worst came from the Daily Mail which is not a bad thing really.
http://www.timeout.c.../three-kingdoms
I think it's one that will not be to everyone's taste, and maybe one of those occasions where I like it more than the critics which isn't a problem for me bearing in mind I have gone to see plays on the basis of critics' write ups which I found very disappointing - for example, the awful Death and the King's Horseman at the NT which I left at the interval and Alan Bennett's tedious Habit of Art where I should have left at the interval.

#6 Cardinal Pirelli

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 06:21 PM

Great reviews from the audience by a large margin, looks good to me. When Quentin 'I hate Europeans' Letts doesn't like it plus Sierz, who moans when the playwright isn't the be all and end all of a piece of theatre, then it's not the sort of thing I am going to take any notice of.

On the other hand, instant twitter reaction to Babel has been mostly appalling.

#7 Cardinal Pirelli

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 11:45 AM

(Are we virus free now?)

Anyway, saw this earlier and loved it; the international collaboration is well judged, giving the three sections very different atmospheres, I thought it got better and better as it went on. The first act with its British, almost Pinteresque, style was pretty good, the second act in Germany was excellent with its wildness and theatricality (character's breaking the fourth wall in what is ostensibly a fourth wall scene, freewheeling acting that moves away from the previous 'British' hyper-realism) followed by the Estonian third act which I found to be outstanding. The latter's highly physical, phantasmasgorical staging with its content rubbing together disparate styles that sparked off each other in interesting ways put across the pieces message very powerfully.

Of course the last act is very anti the British way (which probably annoyed Quentin Letts) but its merely the reverse of earlier as in each act the 'host' nation is appalled at the goings on and attitudes of the others. That this has been expanded by the director from being textual to pervading the changing styles of the production was, I thought, a masterstroke.

What I like about Stephens writing is the way that he provides a blueprint that is left to be finished in production and Nubling grasps that with both hands.

The mainstream media critics have, on the other hand, been an embarrassment to this country, insular and seeming to lack the comprehension needed. Other inflential bloggers such as Dan Rebellato, Andrew Haydon and others are way ahead of them. That the Lyric is now giving 50% offers is a tragedy for this country's theatre, this is a piece which should be selling out having received reviews that are worthy of its achievement, you could expect mixed reviews but *all dismissive? Something is rotten in the state of theatre journalism.

There is something in the response to this which mirrors the UK's wider antipathy to Europe, we are separate in many ways, not just physically but our lack of knowledge of, and attitude to, European theatre. It's not surprising that those who gave luke warm reviews tended to like the first part and thought it got worse as it got more European.

* I've just seen a good one in the Sunday Times, a bit late though for a two week run and hardly enough to change how awful we look as viewed from the continent.

#8 xanderl

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 12:44 PM

Do you have a link to the 50% offer?

Tempted by this one but been preoccupied with international Shakespeare this month !
"witty ... both made me laugh but also gave me pause" - Mark Shenton, The Stage

#9 Cardinal Pirelli

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 12:49 PM

View Postxanderl, on 13 May 2012 - 12:44 PM, said:

Do you have a link to the 50% offer?

Tempted by this one but been preoccupied with international Shakespeare this month !

I'm filling myself full of the Globe to Globe plays as well, none until next Sunday as I'm busy so will miss the ex Soviet companies that I really wanted to see. The offer is on this very site. - - - http://www.whatsonst...ammersmith.html

#10 xanderl

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 01:43 PM

Thanks!

Now torn between this and Belarusan King Lear!
"witty ... both made me laugh but also gave me pause" - Mark Shenton, The Stage





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