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Hysteria

Terry Johnson Bath and touring

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#1 Whenindisgrace

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 11:54 PM

Very enterprising of Bath to put this on, an excellent revival of a modern classic, directed by the author and starring a bigger name than the original production (Antony Sher taking on the role originated by Henry Goodman, as he did with Broken Glass).  Very funny, full of ideas, performances all first-rate.

Made me think - wouldn't it be nice to have a new play from Johnson who wrote some of the best plays of the late-80s, 90s but now seems to be mainly directing.  And is Phyllida Lloyd going to return to the theatre some time (she directed the original production)?

Touring to Oxford, Cambridge and Richmond over the next month or so - you would have thought they could have found one venue that didn't epitomise southern middle-class comfort.

#2 Honoured Guest

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 08:24 AM

View PostWhenindisgrace, on 21 August 2012 - 11:54 PM, said:

Touring to Oxford, Cambridge and Richmond over the next month or so - you would have thought they could have found one venue that didn't epitomise southern middle-class comfort.

Salford Quays must have passed on booking this.

#3 theatreliker

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 12:14 PM

I like Terry Johnson plays - 'Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle and Dick' is also funny.
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#4 Honoured Guest

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 10:05 AM

This 2012 Theatre Royal Bath production of a 20th century play, starring Antony Sher and directed by Terry Johnson, is to be remounted at Hampstead Theatre, "with new plays at the heart of our programme". It follows directly on from two other plays which were new once (Twelfth Night and The Taming of the Shrew). All rather safe and sound, but unsatisfactory.

#5 Cardinal Pirelli

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 10:54 AM

Hysteria's a very good play, is it really nearly twenty years since the original production (sigh)?

I know he's directing a lot but is Terry Johnson not writing anymore, or is he just not being produced? That'd be a shame if either.

Another playwright who seems to have disappeared (although recently seen fleetingly on TV) is Jim Cartwright. Both of them, playwrights who, surely, still have an audience for their work.

#6 Honoured Guest

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 11:04 AM

New Jim Cartwright play recently: http://www.ett.org.u...-christmas-fair

#7 Cardinal Pirelli

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 11:12 AM

View PostHonoured Guest, on 02 July 2013 - 11:04 AM, said:

New Jim Cartwright play recently: http://www.ett.org.u...-christmas-fair

Thanks, just read more about it here, http://www.bbc.co.uk...t-arts-20676936.

#8 dude-1981

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 06:24 PM

Did not get on with this at all in Richmond last year.  Sher seemed hammy and it was painfully, painfully unfunny.  Like a bad BBC sitcom at its worst.  Left at the interval along with my companion.  Was really looking forward to it as well.
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#9 RedRose

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 09:19 PM

I saw a brilliant production of Hysteria at the English Theatre Frankfurt with Ged McKenna as Freud in 2009. I thought it was hilariously funny but not for everybody of the audience.
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#10 mallardo

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 07:13 AM

Well, Hysteria has now arrived at the Hampstead Theatre, same Terry Johnson production, two new actors, Lydia Wilson and Adrian Schiller.  One does get a bit of a frisson watching a play set in the study of a house that still stands only a few blocks from the theatre.

But it's a difficult piece to assess or even discuss because beneath the apparent mayhem - a curious blend of farce and tragedy - there's a logic to it that pulls it all together but can't be revealed without the Spoiler signs flashing.

What can be said is that it is not entirely successful.  The serious side of the play is better than the farce, except when Schiller is on as Salvador Dali.  Literally everything he does is funny, his comic timing so immaculate that one never wants him to leave the stage.  Fortunately he doesn't for very long.

The others do their best with material that must be a strain to pull off.  Anthony Sher is very good and convincing as the dying Freud and David Horovitch does what he can with the straight man role of Doctor Yahuda.  Lydia Wilson, a fine young actress, is excellent at the neurosis thing and has several long distressful monologues which she handles magnificently.  Other elements of the role seem to evade her - it may be that she's just a bit too girlish for a part that needs a slightly older woman.

There's also an apotheosis of sorts in the second act that is impressively done but doesn't fully justify itself.  It's that sort of evening.  A mixed bag that ultimately lacks the weight required by its subject matter.
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