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Scenes From An Execution

NT FionaShaw National Theatre

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#1 Honoured Guest

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 09:08 AM

Originally a powerful radio play starring Glenda Jackson, and subsequently a frequently staged theatre success worldwide. Howard Barker's most popular play returns with True Blood's scariest witch Fiona Shaw as Galatea. Please would she follow this with Skinner in The Castle?

#2 Lynette

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 09:40 AM

Thanks for that. These plays appear and I have no idea what they are. Before my time obviously.

#3 Viceroy

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 06:36 PM

View PostLynette, on 01 June 2012 - 09:40 AM, said:

Thanks for that. These plays appear and I have no idea what they are. Before my time obviously.

LOL

as in Lots of Love ......... obviously!!

#4 Whenindisgrace

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 11:28 AM

Yes, a brilliant play - I saw the revival at the Almeida very early on in the Kent/McDiarmid era (1989?) with Glenda Jackson and Jonathan Hyde (perhaps the latter's finest hour).  It is very funny and gripping in a way I do not associate with Howard Barker - the other two plays I've seen of his were very different, very dull and very hard work.  I'd be interested to see more, though, if they're as good as this one.  He doesn't seem to have been put on much in recent years.

#5 AnnieInTheStalls

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 12:03 AM

After the fiasco of Fiona Shaw's Mother Courage's first preview, you'd think only a fool would book for the first preview of her new play. But my thoughts were - after that fiasco, you'd think Fiona Shaw would ensure her show was ready for its first preview. Alas we were told on arrival that the show would start at 8 and be a "technical dress rehearsal". Credit to the NT though - we'll all apparently receive refunds and there were loads of people explaining the situation and options to people.

What we actually saw when 8 rolled around was a perfectly decent first preview, with no obvious flubs and no dress rehearsal feel to it. I was a bit disappointed - a bit of falling scenery or flapping stage hands would have livened up the evening. As it was, the play is very wordy and, after an entertaining first 15 mins, rather dull. There's also a scene in prison in the second act which I couldn't see at all from the front row.

Tim McInnerney was good, not so sure about Jamie Ballard and Phoebe Nicholls (who's a favourite of mine). Fiona Shaw was a tour de force as you'd expect. I'm not sure the script demanded the showing of quite as much flesh as she revealed. It shows an admirable lack of vanity, but it's also very "look at me!". There's an awful lot of Jamie Ballard on display too if that floats your boat. My second show of the week with gratuitous nudity (other Judas Kiss), and both times on the front row, not knowing where to look and feeling a little awkward, though I'd swear I'm not a prude.

Finished at 10.35, so should finish 10 ish if they start on time. Must add that it was well received at the end so others must have enjoyed it more than me.

#6 dude-1981

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 08:59 PM

Not my cup of tea at all.  Cut and ran at the interval as did my companion.  He said to me he thought about walking out which was funny because I thought leaving over and whispering a joke "let's go" after about 4 minutes.

Dull is the word Annie.
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#7 Pharaoh's number 2

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 09:31 PM

Well I really liked it. It does have the odd slow moment, but it's a very interesting production & play... the set is rather un-NT!
Fiona Shaw is thrilling, one of the best performances I've seen this year.

Came out at 10pm, so 2hrs 30.



#8 steveatplays

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 09:55 PM

I also saw tonight's preview, and I liked it. I particularly liked Tim McInnerny's Doge, and his genuine affection for Fiona Shaw's rather savage artist. Their's is the key relationship that makes the play worthwhile, and they are both excellent. And the chap with the arrow in his head was funny, as well as tragic, despite this play being by the relentlessly serious Howard Barker, and despite the fact that Steve Martin used to perform this routine in the seventies. While this is no laugh riot, it is a worthwhile play with some very interesting observations about the role and effect of art. 4 stars from me. :)

#9 mallardo

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 06:44 AM

I enjoyed it too.  It's a play of ideas and hence very talky but it's good intelligent talk. The closest play to it I can think of is Brecht's Life of Galileo in that it's a debate between the individual and the state - but Barker's play is much funnier, indeed very funny in spots, mainly due to the wonderful multi-faceted performance from Tim McInnerney as the too-sensitive Doge. And, of course, when you have a female lead who is required to talk non-stop and dominate every scene she is in you can't do better than Fiona Shaw.  She's a force of nature which, in this play, is exactly what's wanted.

Tom Cairns' production is quite beautiful to look at and well-staged.  For those who left at the interval, you missed something.  The second act is much stronger and more expansive than the first which tended to get a little bogged down in the artist's studio.

Alas, there was a mishap in the second act on Press Night, of all nights.  A scene change after the prison sequence didn't happen, leaving Fiona Shaw and Jamie Ballard stuck on stage, thankfully in the gloom.  After a long uncomfortable pause the stage manager came out to tell us that there was indeed a problem but not to worry.  She then instructed the actors to "hold your positions".  Considering the positions the actors were in this brought the house down. Things were repaired in a few minutes, to much applause, and the show went on.  This is why we love the theatre.
Excuse me if I seem jejune
I promise I'll find my marbles soon.

#10 Beth

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 10:20 AM

I had mixed feelings about this - I veered between being fascinated and bored.  And maybe I missed some subtle point, but the costumes and styles of speech were all over the centuries, so I found myself fixated on the odd juxtaposition of eras.  On the other hand, I did absolutely love Tim McInnerny's Doge, especially in the second half, and I was impressed by Fiona Shaw's head for heights.

Solid, but not particularly memorable, and it doesn't make me want to see another Howard Barker play.





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