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Privates On Parade With Srb

Grandage Season: Play 1

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#11 Jon

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 11:24 PM

View PostJamiem, on 08 December 2012 - 07:47 PM, said:

Expensive seats not selling

Not surprising really, I enjoyed the play but I imagine it hasn't sold as well compared to the other MGC plays that have bigger names.

#12 Lynette

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 11:42 PM

Back row of stalls v good for this, latecomer.  Staging simple and central. One or two empty seats, one couple left after ten minutes...Generally appreciative audience but here comes my problem: the cheers are for SRB who certainly gives a good performance, voice strong for the singing and the one poignant moment [ conversation with fellow gay back stage  whilst mid show ] delivered well. He carries the show, it dips when he isn't on the stage and he just can't help being better than the rest however hard they try and however good they are. No one else really made a dent in my imagination. The young lead has a good voice but can't dance.

I don't think the play stands up very well after all these years. [ forgive the double entendres, not intentional but after seeing this you will understand] Lots of young people in the audience which is nice to see but I wonder how much they 'got'. Does anyone younger than myself know who Flanagan and Allen were? A particular low dip.  I only know cos my parents told me! Not everyone buys a programme or gets to read it before the show. As much homework required I think as for 55 Days!

I feel that Grandage takes a lot of the context for granted; we've come such a long way since 1977 when the play was staged by the RSC. I didn't see the Roger Allam later show, sadly so I bow to Trev's superior knowledge here but I would have liked more use of the back drop, more contextual information, more clarity about the time the play was set. One satirical song that SRB delivers well is the only pointer to the underlying message. And some of this is hard to 'get' straight off unless you know it already.  It seems cheaply staged, not enough actors, not enough Malayan/Chinese supporting actors, not enough stuff on the stage... the set is a crumbling theatre [ think the McKellen Godot] so we don't really get barracks, jungle etc. We do get showers with  the by now almost mandatory male nudity and a bit of a monsoon. They are showing us a cheaply put together soldiers' concert party in the jungle but that doesn't mean it has to be cheap for the West End. SRB says in the programme that it is a musical - all the more reason to make sure the setting , the reality looks good, looks authentic.

So I am disappointed. I don't know what I was expecting I suppose. Well, I do, I was hoping for a 2012 take on the subject, for actors who could do both gay perfomers and fighting soldiers, for some political comment now the years have passed and shown how wrong the old imperialist policy was and where it has brought us. One colour pic of present day prosperous Malaysia doesn't hack it Michael.

Noel Coward theatre - lovely staff, thanks Mr Wetherill for moving us and nice toilets. V expensive ice cream. Just thought I'd mention cos all the Grandage season is there.

#13 armadillo

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 12:14 AM

IIRC it's  kind of the point that there aren't many Malayans in it. The Donmar production had a couple of servants who gradually changed status throughout it but them being ignored by the Brits was exactly what the play is about. The nudity was rather more noticeable at the Donmar being rather more close-up (involving Nigel Harman IIRC)

#14 Polly1

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 11:44 AM

View Postarmadillo, on 09 December 2012 - 12:14 AM, said:

IIRC it's  kind of the point that there aren't many Malayans in it. The Donmar production had a couple of servants who gradually changed status throughout it but them being ignored by the Brits was exactly what the play is about. The nudity was rather more noticeable at the Donmar being rather more close-up (involving Nigel Harman IIRC)

And James MacEvoy, I believe?
Have to say that the Allam/Donmar production is still one of the highlights of my (many years) theatre-going. Am only seeing this again 'cos of SRB.
Seems a bit odd that they've picked this to open the season - schedules, I suppose - but the other 4 plays have more 'bankable' names. Poor old SRB is left on his own and let's face it, is only well-known to theatre-goers and not in the same league as Judi, Daniel, David W, even Sheridan (although of course he should be).
Thanks for your detailed review, Lynette. Personally I think few of Nichols' plays have stood the test of time (Joe Egg maybe) - will be interesting to see what they do with Passion Play next year, which I seem to remember involves a lot of phone calls from telephone kiosks (remember those?!)

#15 armadillo

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 01:20 PM

Actually I'm not sure we did see  the The Full McAvoy...unless someone has photographic evidence ?  It does seem a rather unstarry cast but then was the Donmar one any different? Roger Allam was theatre buffs only back then and I don't think McAvoy had done much. Malcolm Sinclair?  But I suppose the Donmar only had to sell 250 tickets.

I am looking forward to this - I didn't see the original production but at least the film preserves Dennis Quilley's fantastic performance.

#16 Lynette

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 11:38 AM

I've changed my tix for Midsummer Night's Dream because I had Row C. Couldn't change for Peter and Alice in March cos all sold out on the night I wanted. I mentioned earlier that that I had to be moved because I couldn't see middle to back of stage from Row C, end of, on Saturday night. Box office explained that the stage had been made higher so that the rain could be drained back . What a complete waste of time and money. The rain added nothing to the staging, nothing - a few cans would have sufficed or just wet effect to be honest. As the staging was minimal we were hardly expecting real rain. Box office swore that for the rest of the season the stage would be at normal level. I thought something was wrong as I have obviously been to this theatre many times before.

Anyway warning: if for this show you have Rows A, B or C towards the sides [ and frankly even in the centre] change them to further back. If you've only paid a tenner, then a tenner's worth is what you will see. Mr Wetherill the box Office manager and Paul his trusty assistant will help you I am sure.
Let's hope Mr G doesn't have rain in mind for Judi Dench or the Bard.

#17 Pharaoh's number 2

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 08:35 AM

5* from Spencer in the Telegraph, and Billers in the Guardian.



#18 Lynette

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 03:43 PM

I'm really surprised at the 5 * reviews. Of course it is a nice Xmas treat seeing SRB do his thing but honestly the play doesn't cut it anymore.

#19 armadillo

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:13 PM

View PostLynette, on 11 December 2012 - 03:43 PM, said:

I'm really surprised at the 5 * reviews. Of course it is a nice Xmas treat seeing SRB do his thing but honestly the play doesn't cut it anymore.
   Can't comment yet on this production but I thought the play certainly cut it at the Donmar 10 years ago so I'd be surprised it it's got worse since then. Though your earlier point about people not understanding the context might well be true. There was an item on th Today programme this morning which discussed it by interviewing a couple of WW2 Ensa vets  http://news.bbc.co.u...000/9777258.stm

#20 Lynette

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 11:24 PM

Well, of course, I'm ten years older. Maybe that's my problem.




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