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The Magistrate - Nt

with Lithgow & Carroll

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#21 Nicholas

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 05:50 PM

I was quite surprised by the lack of positivity the press have towards this.  I felt the first half dragged a bit and wasn't quite as funny as it ought or needed to be (in a way it was silly of Nick Hytner to stage a play with a farcical dinner scene whilst his own One Man, Two Guv'nors is still running and outdoes it, not to mention a play about a mother who lies about her son's age which is just what Mrs Hardcastle does in She Stoops to Conquer*), but the second half really took off (someone here said they felt the opposite, which is interesting - there was no point when I saw it where the whole audience burst into laughter but lots of moments where a number of the audience did, so clearly certain aspects in it appeal to certain people).  John Lithgow (who actually was the reason I was slightly skeptical about going - it seemed slightly erroneous casting) is absolutely wonderful, and I felt that when he had the opportunity to take centre stage it worked.  I could have lived without the songs, which stopped the play freely slowing, aside from the final one which was a treat.  It's the kind of play that I felt a lot of goodwill towards after it warmed up, so could forgive some of its clunks (i.e. the slow first half), and I left with a feeling of cheer and merriment.  Beautiful set too.  Though it's not exactly profound and doesn't fire on all cylinders, I can't imagine not liking it and really don't understand why no-one in the press actually likes it.  It'll be  no-one's contender for play of the year and it's not five stars, but it's a great deal of harmless fun which I couldn't help but like.

*I missed London Assurance (I googled Lady Gay Spanker, but for fans of Boucicalt I wouldn't recommend it), but absolutely adored She Stoops.  This feels a bit like She Stoops-lite.  And, for all its virtues, She Stoops wasn't the most profound of plays.

#22 Portugal1000

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 07:54 PM

I have tickets for matinee on 27th December. We are taking our 12 year old son so I am hoping it is suitable. He has seen every family friendly show going so this may be a little different for him.

#23 armadillo

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 08:11 PM

I remember seeing Charley's Aunt when I was that age and loving it! It's not exactly subtle but, being Victorian, there's nothing 'suspect' about it. I think a theatre -savvy 12 year old will probably love it more than the adults in the audience. It might be worth force feeding him a few G and S patter songs if they haven't come his way before now but otherwise I'm sure he''ll love it. Who doesn't want to see a fish in a wig?

#24 Nicholas

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 08:11 PM

Well their Christmas show this year is Hansel and Gretel, which is pretty much sold out as it is, but there's nothing in this anyone above the age of 6, say, won't get or is unsuitable.

#25 itsuckstobeme

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 09:21 PM

I have been VERY surprised by the lack of enthusiasm from the press.

#26 Honoured Guest

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 10:04 PM

The Magistrate sounds like what people who've never been to the National Theatre imagine it to be - oldfashioned safe tat for the friends of Thora. Is it what public arts subsidy was intended for? Discuss.

#27 dude-1981

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 11:16 PM

The constant banging on about the arts subsidy is probably one of the things I most dislike about this board.  Discuss.
If, for some strange reason you care what I've seen, it's all here:

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#28 Honoured Guest

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 12:23 AM

View Postdude-1981, on 22 November 2012 - 11:16 PM, said:

The constant banging on about the arts subsidy is probably one of the things I most dislike about this board.  Discuss.

Interesting observation, counter to my impression that many on this board don't care at all where theatres' income comes from as long as they personally pay as little as possible.

#29 Nicholas

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 12:42 AM

View PostHonoured Guest, on 22 November 2012 - 10:04 PM, said:

The Magistrate sounds like what people who've never been to the National Theatre imagine it to be - oldfashioned safe tat for the friends of Thora. Is it what public arts subsidy was intended for? Discuss.

But then again, it's a play someone at the National wanted to put on for the same reason (presumably) they wanted to revive Simon Stephens' "Port", because someone must have the desire to stage it as opposed to it being picked out of the NT hat.  This particular play also had to fill the gap The Count of Monte Christo very publicly vacated, that is to say a family show which appeals to all ages without pandering, has a reputable source and clear appeal.  And whatever its faults (apparently nothing but faults, but I'm certainly not going to see it now) this year's schedule included Damned by Despair, a fairly contrasting piece, as well as Timon of Athens, as well as Antigone, as well as Scenes from an Execution...  For staging either slightly obtuse pieces or bona fide, perhaps less old fashioned, masterpieces, I think the National can be let off for a Magistrate or a She Stoops every now and then.  Plus, given that the productions that really made headlines this year were a new piece by Alan Bennett (who may be seen as cosy but bloody well isn't, though this play might have been a little bit cosy), One Man, Two Guv'nors and Collaborators for its Olivier award, as well as probably a couple of others my slightly too tired mind can't recall, I think anyone who sees the National as such isn't someone who pays close enough attention.

So, in short, yes, I think so.  Why not?

#30 PaulR

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 08:12 AM

"oldfashioned safe tat for the friends of Thora"

What does this mean?




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