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Democracy

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#1 mallardo

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 07:50 AM

I saw a production of this in New York a few years ago starring Richard (The Waltons) Thomas who, alas, was bland and effortful as the spy, Gunter Guillaume. I found it an earnest and tedious evening at the theatre, the play overflowing with exposition and lacking any sort of momentum.  I wondered if it was just a problem with the cast.

The cast is much better at the Old Vic and Aidan McArdle is all one could hope for as Guillaume, a bundle of much-needed energy,  but the play is still tedious.  Part of the problem is the central figure of Willi Brandt, treated by everyone on stage as a kind of living ikon because that's how he behaves.  A figure of ritual, all facade and no substance. Patrick Drury is fine in the part but cannot bring him to life - neither could the actor in New York.

And there is the arcana of Social Democratic politics in West Germany in the early 70s.  It all needs to be explained and it is - endlessly. It's educational and even interesting but ultimately undramatic.  Director Paul Miller does all he can to keep it busy but it still ends up as a kind of extended history lesson and the central "conflict", the relationship between the aloof Brandt and his self-described Sancho Panza figure, Guillaume, never achieves a real resolution.

On the up side, the programme is unusually informative and worth even the 4 pounds they charge for it.
Excuse me if I seem jejune
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#2 Pharaoh's number 2

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 11:05 AM

I've had several offers of tickets for this, but 2 1/2 hours of  dense German Politics doesn't really do it for me.



#3 armadillo

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 01:22 PM

I thought the NT production was one of the most brilliant things I'd ever seen at the theatre (and I'd never heard of the Gunther thingy story before I went). Has anyone seen both productions to compare?

#4 Reich

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 03:46 PM

View Postarmadillo, on 27 June 2012 - 01:22 PM, said:

I thought the NT production was one of the most brilliant things I'd ever seen at the theatre (and I'd never heard of the Gunther thingy story before I went).

Totally agree I found it fascinating

Broadway has been very good to me. But then, I've been very good to broadway.


#5 armadillo

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 03:56 PM

\What I remember best was how jawdroppingly brilliant the fall of the Berlin Wall was

#6 mallardo

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 04:09 PM

The wall fall is done with sound fx here.
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#7 KevinUK

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 09:17 PM

Hated it. I had no idea it was about German politics. Last thing I need after a long day at work. I didn't like the staging, but the acting was good. All male production.
If I stay awake, it must be good.

#8 armadillo

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 05:10 AM

View PostKevinUK, on 27 June 2012 - 09:17 PM, said:

Hated it. I had no idea it was about German politics. Last thing I need after a long day at work. I didn't like the staging, but the acting was good. All male production.

You saw a play that you knew nothing at all about? Gosh! is the only possible reaction to that :lol:

#9 Honoured Guest

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:57 AM

I imagine that hordes of people who loved Noises Off at The Old Vic have eagerly booked to see another hilarious comedy there by Michael Frayn...

#10 KevinUK

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:13 PM

View Postarmadillo, on 28 June 2012 - 05:10 AM, said:



You saw a play that you knew nothing at all about? Gosh! is the only possible reaction to that :lol:

I do it all the time, especially at the Old Vic because the standard of quality is always high - even though this is a transfer, it's still got great production values, brilliant acting, and an intelligent subject matter (just not one that is my cup of tea!). When I bought this ticket it was the day after they announced their two new shows - so I asked for tickets to see them too: no idea what they are about, only remember that 1 is called Kiss and Kate and is a musical. Lord knows what the other one is.


I also think that Trafalgar Studio 2 usually has a very high standard of productions too, and will happily go along without knowing what it's about.
If I stay awake, it must be good.





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