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Trelawny Of The Wells - Donmar


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#91 Epicoene

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 06:18 PM

View PostCAA, on 04 April 2013 - 12:56 PM, said:

Got to agree its a duff production, that said the National Theatre weren't much better when they did the Magistrate.  Is it just a case that a play like this needs a strong cast, and a clear director trusting the work.  If not then it doesn't work.
Actors love this play, you can see why as it panders to their own view of themselves, as such it shouldn't be hard to assemble a strong cast (the first NT production of it had both McKellen and Jacobi). This cast was pretty feeble, the fact that a supporting actor like Ron Cook was by far the most distinguished actor in it says it all.

#92 Lynette

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 02:32 PM

I didn't think it was the actors that made this production a dud. I think it was the director. Such basic stuff like where the actors were placed was dreadful. The whole tone was askew. That is from the director surely?

#93 Cardinal Pirelli

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 07:31 PM

I saw this yesterday and, looked back to find the reviews came out at about 3.5 stars average, I had to check back as I couldn't understand the tone of the last couple of pages of this thread at all.

I thought the concept was strong, the use of theatricality in keeping with the nature of how a contemporary audience is helped by, not just having a contemporary realistic performance about a bygone style, but by seeing suggestions of that style to be able to compare. The cast are a very tight ensemble (I got fed up of the Donmar 'let's put a star on' attitude which led me to go less and less in the Grandage era) and it played very well as an ensemble piece.

Why not five stars? Because it needed to be in a bigger house. Unusually for a film director Wright actually gets the artifice of theatre, I saw it from the balcony, which is my seating of choice there now (I got fed up of the poor sightlines whenever I sat on the sides downstairs which was usually the case as the tickets had disappeared for the centre very quickly) and it worked very well at that remove, it may have seemed too large downstairs, the comedy mainly, and especially in the front row, at least for those patrons used to seeing the Paltrow's and Kidman's there. I recall seeing Endgame there ages ago where Stephen Dillane barely rose above a whisper at times, which made clear the unusual nature of the space. When the actor playing Rose switched into a more naturalistic performance it was notable how you had to switch in the way that you listened, in comparison. Somewhere like the Noel Coward would have been perfect, large enough to accommodate the theatricality and to ensure that the naturalism didn't become too low key in comparison.

I know the play (and the musical, which is a bit of a rarity) and it was good to see it again, it could easily be that dread cliche of velvet curtains, beautiful scenery and star turns and Wright avoided that and, to my surprise, he actually understands theatre. There's a reason that film stars like the Donmar, they don't have to change their approach to performance much, but it's good to see that space being used for more than a chance to see so-and-so so close that you could spit on him/her. it's very much back on my 'theatres to look out for announcements from' list and I'm very grateful for that.

I was at the King's Head in the evening for Quasimodo, that really was a space where the size of the performances overwhelmed the space, good work from Steven Webb and  great chance to see a show that I thought I'd never get a chance too but boy was it big and loud.

BTW I should say - house packed, all the standing places appeared to be full and very appreciative laughter throughout.

#94 Epicoene

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 08:31 PM

View PostCardinal Pirelli, on 07 April 2013 - 07:31 PM, said:

I saw this yesterday and, looked back to find the reviews came out at about 3.5 stars average, I had to check back as I couldn't understand the tone of the last couple of pages of this thread at all.

I thought the concept was strong, the use of theatricality in keeping with the nature of how a contemporary audience is helped by, not just having a contemporary realistic performance about a bygone style, but by seeing suggestions of that style to be able to compare. The cast are a very tight ensemble (I got fed up of the Donmar 'let's put a star on' attitude which led me to go less and less in the Grandage era) and it played very well as an ensemble piece.

Why not five stars? Because it needed to be in a bigger house. Unusually for a film director Wright actually gets the artifice of theatre, I saw it from the balcony, which is my seating of choice there now (I got fed up of the poor sightlines whenever I sat on the sides downstairs which was usually the case as the tickets had disappeared for the centre very quickly) and it worked very well at that remove, it may have seemed too large downstairs, the comedy mainly, and especially in the front row, at least for those patrons used to seeing the Paltrow's and Kidman's there. I recall seeing Endgame there ages ago where Stephen Dillane barely rose above a whisper at times, which made clear the unusual nature of the space. When the actor playing Rose switched into a more naturalistic performance it was notable how you had to switch in the way that you listened, in comparison. Somewhere like the Noel Coward would have been perfect, large enough to accommodate the theatricality and to ensure that the naturalism didn't become too low key in comparison.

I know the play (and the musical, which is a bit of a rarity) and it was good to see it again, it could easily be that dread cliche of velvet curtains, beautiful scenery and star turns and Wright avoided that and, to my surprise, he actually understands theatre. There's a reason that film stars like the Donmar, they don't have to change their approach to performance much, but it's good to see that space being used for more than a chance to see so-and-so so close that you could spit on him/her. it's very much back on my 'theatres to look out for announcements from' list and I'm very grateful for that.

I was at the King's Head in the evening for Quasimodo, that really was a space where the size of the performances overwhelmed the space, good work from Steven Webb and  great chance to see a show that I thought I'd never get a chance too but boy was it big and loud.

BTW I should say - house packed, all the standing places appeared to be full and very appreciative laughter throughout.

Disagree. Having a large plastic comedy roast chicken is neither funny, insightful, bold, daring, clever, relevant to the Victorian theatre, or helpful to a contemporary audience. It is just pathetic.

Also just in passing, I agree with Lynette that the blocking of the final scene was truly and genuinely inept.

#95 Lynette

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 04:10 PM

Do film stars like The Donmar? I didn't know that.  What is the style of acting that doesn't have to change? Phooey. Acting isn't one thing, one style, one concept. An actor acts appropriately. I saw Ms Paltrow and Ms Kidman.  They were both excellent. They acted well. Nothing to do with being a film star.
Did you see Red Velvet? There was some referencing to an older style of acting. Worked well.

#96 popcultureboy

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 04:33 PM

Quote

where Stephen Dillane barely rose above a whisper at times

A common complaint where he is concerned though. I couldn't hear him in The Master Builder at the Almeida, a lot of people said the same about the Bridge Project production of The Tempest and when the Donmar production of The Real Thing transferred to the Albery (as it was then), the night I saw it, someone in the stalls yelled at him to speak up, which was greeted with applause.

#97 Cardinal Pirelli

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 08:49 PM

View PostLynette, on 08 April 2013 - 04:10 PM, said:

Do film stars like The Donmar? I didn't know that.  What is the style of acting that doesn't have to change? Phooey. Acting isn't one thing, one style, one concept. An actor acts appropriately. I saw Ms Paltrow and Ms Kidman.  They were both excellent. They acted well. Nothing to do with being a film star.
Did you see Red Velvet? There was some referencing to an older style of acting. Worked well.

Naturalism, where the Strasberg/Meisner-ish focus on the internal can still communicate without conscious exaggeration for an audience. There's a reason why many film stars struggle in large houses (though people like Spacey and Dench can do both excellently), same as with the opposite.  Both may have been able to scale their performance but it's much safer for them to not have to.

Popcultureboy - Dillane is a case in point, brilliant in the Donmar (Endgame), Cottesloe (Angels in America) and Young Vic - thrust configuration (Uncle Vanya) really struggles to adapt to a larger space.

I haven't been to the Tricycle lately - just as the Donmar has gone up the list, the Tricycle hasn't whetted my appetite for a while (I think Filter's Water was the last thing I saw there). Still, plenty of theatres to give something for everyone.

#98 Lynette

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 09:41 PM

Maybe it is becasue I have yet another cold and my head is like concrete but I just don't agree with you CP. Film stars? Who? Which film stars have struggled in large houses? Maybe I don't go see film stars, I dunno. But if you can act, you can act.

ps Vanessa Redgrave, the whisperer in large and small houses.

#99 Cardinal Pirelli

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 09:55 PM

View PostLynette, on 08 April 2013 - 09:41 PM, said:

Maybe it is becasue I have yet another cold and my head is like concrete but I just don't agree with you CP. Film stars? Who? Which film stars have struggled in large houses? Maybe I don't go see film stars, I dunno. But if you can act, you can act.

ps Vanessa Redgrave, the whisperer in large and small houses.

I'm thinking Americans mostly who were trained for the screen, British actor training has historically been much more stage based. More and more I'm finding that our younger actors don't yet have that strength though.

#100 mallardo

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 07:05 AM

The only American film star I can think of who has struggled to project in a large theatre is Julia Roberts in Three Days of Rain on Broadway a few years ago.  Tom Hanks, who has virtually no stage experience, is, apparently, giving a fine performance on Broadway at the moment as are Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Chastain and any number of others.  The film-actors-can't-do-theatre canard is ripe for burial.
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