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This House

Cottesloe

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#41 fringefan

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 07:11 PM

I loved it too - saw today's matinee, having booked only 24 hours earlier (not quite as sold out as claimed and there were still a few empty seats) and it really felt like an epic, even for an audience member with a decent seat, so goodness knows how it feels if you're standing, or a cast member.  But presumably the latter get carried along by the adrenalin?  I was in the Pit and liked the way the seats there were made to resemble those in the House Of Commons (wooden benches with padded green seats); they also felt less spartan and cramped than usual for the Cottesloe, which matters for such a long play.  In fact, I think the seating configuration for this production is the best I've seen in that auditorium, as although 3-sided, it was the closest to theatre-in-the-round, which always seems to me to create the best atmosphere and sense of involvement for the audience.  Maybe the NT had become aware of comments here about lack of ushers, or had realised the need, as there was certainly no shortage today and you couldn't even have got away with sitting in the wrong area, let alone with sitting if meant to be standing.
A mystery that this play should be given so short a run and not extended even when it sold out so quickly, though maybe there was no capacity in the calendar for more.  As with Chariots Of Fire, I think something of the staging would be lost if it were to transfer, but it deserves to be seen by a wider audience.

#42 Chameleon

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 11:14 PM

This felt more like a lecture/guided tour than a play. They've tried to squeeze so much history (and so many people) in that none of the characters ends up being more than a breezy caricature. There are a few good one-liners but the story keeps repeating itself (will they win or lose the vote?  will they win or lose the next vote? etc, etc, for three hours), and there's not enough obviously at stake for the characters (emotionally, or ideologically)  to keep the audience attentive. Instead, they've included plenty of distractions (a shooting gallery.. songs... odd bits of physical theatre... big ben..) to try to liven things up, but it still feels like you're being entertained in the queue, not riding the rollercoaster...

Still, the bit of Margaret at the end is truly creepy. 'Where there is discord, let us bring harmony.'. Ick.

#43 fringefan

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 03:58 AM

I see what you mean, Chameleon, but I suppose the point is, it is indeed history, or at least, the writer has chosen to go for the historical, more than the personal angle, so yes, he is at once constrained by the facts but also free to approach those in all sorts of ways (the distractions you mention), which I felt added variety and interest.  Not for the first time I found it very odd to see the events of my own lifetime depicted as history - which they now are.

#44 TheatreMadGoer

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 08:30 AM

Here here, Parsley, Howard Ward was still on last night, and gave another stonking performance.

I enjoyed this show immensely, possibly because I, in a very small way, became one of the opposition at one point near the end. But also because it's a damned good play, and a wonderful cast. The two ladies giving a brill performance

#45 drmaplewood

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 08:53 AM

Just nabbed a couple of tickets for late-November after the glowing reviews here, look forward to it.

#46 xanderl

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 08:07 AM

Rave reviews this morning from the delayed press night. I suspect tomorrow's papers won't make such cheerful reading for the NT as it's the Damned by Despair press night tonight! Maybe they could swap the two plays over.
"witty ... both made me laugh but also gave me pause" - Mark Shenton, The Stage

#47 Pharaoh's number 2

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 08:20 AM

View Postxanderl, on 10 October 2012 - 08:07 AM, said:

Rave reviews this morning from the delayed press night. I suspect tomorrow's papers won't make such cheerful reading for the NT as it's the Damned by Despair press night tonight! Maybe they could swap the two plays over.

Yep, v strong reviews. 4* Guardian, 5* Telegraph. Best new play Olivier nomination on its way I bet.



#48 Snciole

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 11:39 AM

Transfering to the Olivier in February http://wos.im/UQVFda

I smugly called this (on twitter) whilst moaning that Damned By Despair was taking up vital This House space :). Considering it was a sell out in such a small space it had to do a Collaborators (plus the rave reviews this morning) and transfer to a bigger space. I also trust Rae Smith not to lose too much of the stage design in transfer.

#49 Snciole

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 11:43 AM

Sorry I should have posted a link to the tweet https://twitter.com/...994115546828800

#50 steveatplays

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 12:04 PM

This is so faithful to the ins and outs of politics that the first half feels like you are actually in the House of Commons, fretting like an obsessive politician about the minutiae of votes, in a way that couldn't possibly be interesting to a broader public. That part was interesting, but hardly compelling, and I became perturbed that the play might only doing well because every Philip Glenister fan in the country possesses ten tickets.

To digress, I spoke to one such fan, with 8 tickets over the run, who was irate that supposedly "unreserved" pit seats were being corralled into specific benches based on obscure and indecipherable numbers on the tickets. Specifically, she had queued up with a view to sitting next to Philip Glenister every performance, and on the day I attended she was unceremoniously compelled to sit on the odds and sods bench, despite her prime position in the queue. As it happened, another Glenister fan with 10 tickets over the run successfully nabbed the precious Glenister-adjacent seat. I sat exactly opposite her seat on the Government Benches, with a Government MP sat to my immediate right, and I must say Glenister barely sits down on the benches the entire show, so I can't see what the fuss is about, even if I could see what the fuss is about, if you see what I mean.

Luckily, the second half of this play ramps up the drama and personal stakes on all sides of the political spectrum, with the relationship between two of the whips from opposite sides being portrayed surprisingly tenderly, and I found that I was thoroughly engaged with the second half, so much so that I give this play 4 stars, despite the first half feeling like a day observing the commons benches for school children. :)




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