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Red Velvet

Tricycle Kilburn

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#11 Lynette


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Posted 27 November 2012 - 05:36 PM

So what ya seeing? Don't forget to post.

#12 fringefan


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Posted 27 November 2012 - 06:28 PM

I shall post as usual, but wonder what becomes of those others who say they are seeing a production, then turn taciturn?  For instance (off-topic, I know - apologies), I am sure I am not still the only one to have seen Ignorance.  And I didn't even damn it as much as I felt it deserved...

#13 DanielWhit


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Posted 29 November 2012 - 01:20 AM

I enjoyed this, but little more - I struggled to see what the production was trying to do, seemed to lack clarity of where it was trying to go. It half felt like it was trying to be biographical (with imagined set-ups and situations), however it never really grasped that.

Still, twas my first visit to the Tricycle, lovely venue in a very unsuspecting setting (Kilburn High Street doesn't feel like the kind of place you'd expect to find political and historical drama on the face of it).

#14 steveatplays


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Posted 08 March 2014 - 07:13 PM

I was underwhelmed by Adrian Lester's Othello after the Donmar production ruined the play by being so good that no other production will likely match it. Chiwetel Ejiofor lived and breathed Othello, method acting without artifice, so stirring that at the interval my sister and I were emotionally trembling in tandem, and she said "Is this real? This is the best play I've ever seen." I couldn't even speak.

By comparison, Adrian Lester seemed to construct his Othello from the outside in, a work of great skill, but which had moments of empty blankness, which he had to keep refilling effortfully with emotion. And there is one area of method acting that Lester has mastered, which is crying. I always believe him when he cries.

When I saw Red Velvet, I realised Adrian Lester is one of the best teapot actors living.

Teapot acting requires one arm placed against the hip to puff up the body, while the other arm gesticulates emotional flurries to the audience.

Teapot acting was the acting style in Covent Garden when Edmund Keane fell ill and Ira Aldridge had to replace him. Ira's style of acting was a hybrid of teapot acting and the method, retaining the gesticulating and posturing, but making more eye contact with the other actors, more physical interaction, as well as feeling the emotions of a scene.

Adrian Lester acts out scenes from Othello in Red Velvet in Ira's teapot-method hybrid acting style and his balletic movement and gymnastic grace resulted in an Othello far more compelling and commanding than the one we saw at the National last year.

I mourn the passing of this emotional teapot style of acting. There's so much to watch and so many ways to reinforce emotional impact through body movement.

And even when Adrian Lester is acting Ira, not Othello, the vestiges of Ira's lost acting style are present. When Lester folds Ira's coat under one arm, that arm forms the handle of a teapot, as his other arm gesticulates, and Lester moves furiously and balletically around the space. Lester shows us Ira, and Ira shows us Lester, and both grow in stature.

Other acting styles are on offer in this production. Oliver Ryan goes uber-method, as he overfeels Charles Keane's humiliation, at not replacing his father as Othello, in sweaty tickridden facial expressions. This is not a criticism, it's rivetting to watch Ryan's eyes bulge and his lips quiver and his sweat pour. His acting style may be different than Lester's, but it is equally exciting.

Naturalistic acting is here too, as evidenced by the easy presence of Nic Jackman.

Charlotte Lucas gives the most intriguing performance, as her character, Ellen Tree's whole life is a performance, an actress who never stops acting, wanting to maximise the effect of every word she speaks. Lucas method acts an actress acting, presenting a convincing portrayal of the importance of affectation as a mode of living in this byegone age. She only becomes real in her silent moments, and it is then you see the compassion and fragility behind her showboating life.

As a play about acting, showcasing different kinds of acting, this is a fascinating production.

And as a play about racism, it is powerful too. Lolita Chakrabarti constructs this story of a great actor thwarted by racist London with thrust and pathos, the sad sad scene of Lester as Ira whiting up immensely moving.

I wish this play luck on Broadway. It has a lot to say and it says it well. And it features the best teapot acting in the world today. I should have listened to Lynette and seen this a year ago. 4 stars. :)

#15 JoeM


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Posted 08 March 2014 - 11:29 PM

I saw this last night. I found the first half dragged terribly. Adrian Lester is a very good actor in my book but I did end up feeling that this play depended a lot on context and outside influences and that the thing itself was only just about better than average. And that only because the second-half of the play did have some strong emotional moments when the play's main issue - racism - is finally confronted and laid bare in all its ugliness.

They do serve a mean goat curry at the Tricycle though.

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