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Galileo

RSC

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#11 igb

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 07:05 AM

I saw the last night, last night, and I thought it was very good indeed.   Both my children ("lowering the average age of the audience, again", as my younger said) were very impressed, too.

I can see what some of the people cavilling above mean: it's certainly quite a "busy" production, and it's absolutely true to say that the pace drops after the interval.  But the central performances were superb, which can make up for almost anything.   McDiarmid owns the stage, and Jodie McNee, whom I thought rather irritating in the Measure for Measure, isn't affecting a northern accent and was really rather good.  The production overall --- quality costumes, accurate dancing, all mod cons --- is rather "RSC circa now by the numbers", and there's a lot of business with step ladders which is a bit distracting, but it mostly serves the play.  And Ravenhill's translation is very good indeed.

The last time I saw the play (a rather weak touring production with Timothy West, who forgot his lines) I thought, like PN2, that it was a simplistic moral fable.  But here I'm not sure that it does set up a purely manichean dichotomy between the righteous Galileo and the hidebound church;  the Church are seen as more concerned with protecting their flock from upset (massive parallels with Eastern bloc thinking) while Galileo takes science where it will without concern for the consequences (Brecht revised the play heavily after Hiroshima).  

It was a couple of minutes late going up, and McDiarmid gave a very moving tribute to Richard Griffiths at the end.   Even after that, we were still back at the Bridgefoot carpark by the scheduled finish time in the programme; I doubt the play itself ran much more than 2:25, against the printed 2:40.  So it's more than possible that during the run it's sped up considerably compared to what other posters saw, which might make quite a difference.

#12 Epicoene

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 01:55 PM

View PostHonoured Guest, on 28 March 2013 - 10:41 AM, said:



Michael Grandage was a leading young actor for Ian McDiarmid and Nicholas Hytner when they were both directing at the Royal Exchange so MG&CO were very likely there to see IMcD.

Grandage directed McDiarmid at the Donmar much more recently than that. Anyone see McDiarmid's recent Timon of Athens (in Chicago ?). Pity he didn't play it here.

#13 Coated peanut

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 01:01 AM

I saw it last week and though that Ian McDiarmid pretty much owned the stage especially as 'broken' Galileo.  I watched both Galileo and Gudenov on the same day, and the ensemble was pretty good in both, though their boisterous energy was probably better suited to Gudenov.

This production doesn't quite reach the giddy heights of the NT version with SRB in my theatre pantheon of awesomeness, but there were moments where I nearly preferred McDiarmid's Galileo. All in all, it's now my second favourite Brecht production,  though I might not be the best judge - still spitting nails about the NT's Mother Courage which everyone else I knew rather liked.

View Postigb, on 31 March 2013 - 07:05 AM, said:

  The production overall --- quality costumes, accurate dancing, all mod cons --- is rather "RSC circa now by the numbers", and there's a lot of business with step ladders which is a bit distracting, but it mostly serves the play.  And Ravenhill's translation is very good indeed.


I thought the translation was quite snappy and entertaining, with the play feeling tighter (or possible shorter) than the production at the NT a few years ago, but also more superficial. I don't know whether that was due to the staging or the translation, and it's not necessarily a bad thing since it makes the play more accessible to people who are not hardcore Brecht fans.

View Postigb, on 31 March 2013 - 07:05 AM, said:

The last time I saw the play (a rather weak touring production with Timothy West, who forgot his lines) I thought, like PN2, that it was a simplistic moral fable.  But here I'm not sure that it does set up a purely manichean dichotomy between the righteous Galileo and the hidebound church;  the Church are seen as more concerned with protecting their flock from upset (massive parallels with Eastern bloc thinking) while Galileo takes science where it will without concern for the consequences (Brecht revised the play heavily after Hiroshima).  

Interesting. I tend to think the play is about human choice, in this case ideology vs. survival (whether the ideology is political, religious or scientific, right or wrong doesn't matter, it's about the choice to sell out your believes and live with the consequences, or not live at all).

#14 David J

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 08:07 AM

View PostCoated peanut, on 01 April 2013 - 01:01 AM, said:

All in all, it's now my second favourite Brecht production,  though I might not be the best judge - still spitting nails about the NT's Mother Courage which everyone else I knew rather liked.

I thought that production turned into a rock concert. All I could think about was the music.

I'd put this production in front of Mother Courage, but just behind Chichester's Arturo Ui
My reviews can also be found at "A Night at the Theatre"

http://www.anightatthetheatre.co.uk/

#15 igb

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 01:39 PM

View PostDavid J, on 01 April 2013 - 08:07 AM, said:

I thought that production turned into a rock concert. All I could think about was the music.

I'd put this production in front of Mother Courage, but just behind Chichester's Arturo Ui

Best Brecht I've ever seen was the National production of Auturo Ui, with Antony Sher, in 1991.   At one point he swung onto the stage using a pair of machine guns as crutches, showing the length of the shadow his Richard III cast over his career.

#16 Epicoene

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 07:00 PM

View Postigb, on 01 April 2013 - 01:39 PM, said:



Best Brecht I've ever seen was the National production of Auturo Ui, with Antony Sher, in 1991.

Best Brecht. Not a crowded field. Schweyk in the Second World War at NT I suppose.

#17 Honoured Guest

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 12:38 PM

Just a reminder that this RSC production starring Ian McDiarmid is now on the road:

until 8 Mar Birmingham Rep
10-15 Mar Everyman, Cheltenham
17-22 Mar Theatre Royal, Bath
24-29 Mar Rose, Kingston
31 Mar - 5 Apr Arts, Cambridge

http://www.rsc.org.u...ife-of-galileo/





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