Posted 17 February 2013 - 03:10 PM
Perhaps it’s because I had enough cough sweets to tranquilise an elephant, but I felt more positively about it (if you're going I'm sure you'll enjoy it but yes, if you didn't get tickets don't worry). It’s light as a feather and forgettable won’t be an unfair way to describe it, but I enjoyed it at the time. I preferred it to The Magistrate – better (and fewer) songs, better play - but less laugh out loud funny and not hugely more memorable. The play, to me, seemed to be like four one act plays with the same characters - Act I was a comedy about theatrical types, Act II a class comedy, Act III suddenly had Konstantin from The Seagull expostulate about a new way of theatre and Act IV was something between the class comedy and Summer Stock, "Let's Put On A Show!" (but that Irish-via-Jamaican accent - dear God...). I can't tell if the fault is with Pinero or if Wright just didn't direct a coherent play. All the actors were good, especially Ron Cook - agree that the doubling up didn't add depth, but he got to feature in more scenes which was a bonus. Aimee Ffion Edwards I always enjoy watching. It was performed and put together lovingly, and some of that rubbed off.
Make of this what you will, but I felt like I did about Peter Hall’s Twelfth Night. Once you realise it’s a comedy that’s not really meant to make you laugh or think (Twelfth Night wasn't about characters, it was about costumes), it’s easy to relax into. I like Joe Wright’s films – Anna Karenina made good (cinematic) use of the stage, and Hanna’s an underrated action-film-cum-fairy-tale – but his theatrical career’s yet to ignite (actually, he did something with A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, which I liked a great deal, more than this). Overall I really rather enjoyed it but "lightweight" doesn't begin to describe it. Of the people next to me, one seemed to rather enjoy it, the other kept falling asleep. That's a critique if ever there was one. I liked it but not enough to get excited about it. Though it’s far from life-changing or profound or great theatre, and does fall flat a few times, I’d call it harmless fun, pleasant and enjoyable. It's hard to stress how unremarkable yet pleasant this is.