I failed to comment on the terrible preview I saw of Treats, Friday before last. A terribly tired and sagging play was neither staged nor acted well. This was certainly not helped by the empty seats in the Garrick. Only the stalls and dress circle were open. This is yet another case of a second-rate revival that pollutes the West and End. I am surprised at the generally positive reviews that were posted last week. Perhaps the critics felt sorry for Bille Piper. Certainly, it is a contrast from the other recent stage debut of another young actor.
I saw the matinee preview of Dash Arts Midsummer Night's Dream, at the Roundhouse yesterday. I saw the UK premiere at the Swan as part of the festival there. I would highly advise anyone to see the show when it returns there in April-May for a 4 week run. The Roundhouse is totally unsuitable for this staging. The arena style layout is hindered by broken seating blocks, with a terrible amount of audience noise audible. The action is dwarfed by the venue and the acoustics are inferior compared to all regular theatres. The performance is as spectacular as ever.
King of Hearts at Hampstead is a mixed bag. As a modern and witty play, Alistair Beaton does deliver, and the cast are all terribly funny. The problem is that the content does address some contentious issues: Racism, sexism, Islamophobia etc. These are all touched on and the surface is never more than delicately grazed. This enables a happy ending, but I left feeling strangely short changed. The author tends to the same subject matter, and always in this distanced parodied fashion. Top marks for the cast and director, but perhaps the next Beaton play could offer more food for thought.
Treats, Dream, Hearts
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