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The Hothouse, Trafalgar Transformed

SRB & John Simm

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#111 RH1234

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 06:23 PM

Grabbed one! Thank you, will let you know what I think

#112 Pharaoh's number 2

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 08:06 PM

Hope you enjoy :)



#113 steveatplays

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 06:51 PM

For me, Trafalgar Studios have put on the 2 funniest plays of the year so far, "The Hothouse" being one, and "The Play that goes Wrong" being the other. While I can understand the moan that SRB is already in full Basil Fawlty breakdown mode from the offset, on the grounds this deprives us of a character arc, I'm grateful for his choices in this, as it is truly one of the funniest, best timed comedic performances I've ever seen. I did see it this week, not at the start of the run, so perhaps that makes a difference. John Heffernan also gives an astoundingly funny wheedling, puffed up, know-it-all performance. In the straight roles, John Simm and Harry Melling are nigh on perfect, with the latter being immensely sympathetic as well. For me, although this play approaches Pinter's dark critique of institutions, and power and control, through the mode of mugging and farce, it is all the more brilliant for that. 5 STARS from me, lol.

#114 RH1234

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 09:44 PM

-

#115 RedRose

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 08:50 PM

View PostRH1234, on 23 July 2013 - 09:44 PM, said:

Really enjoyed this. So much better than Macbeth (which I loathed). Disappointed that John Heffernan was out - his understudy seemed to struggle with the difficult monologue in act one, but did better in act two. Simon Russell Beale in top form though.

The Heff hurt his foot and was at A&E on Saturday. I was also quite disappointed he was not on, but I found his understudy did very well in act two. The play was worth watching a second time - and there were some in the audience who found it hilarious, lots of laughter, but only when it was really funny. I could move some rows further front which was better than being stuck in last row. Busier than in the week me thinks. Still too many empty seats. The price politics seem to be a complete failure for this!
King Lear (NT), Twelve Angry Men (Garrick),  Mojo (Harold Pinter), Coriolanus (2x, Donmar), Henry V (Noel Coward), Strangers on a Train (Gielgud), Fortunes Fool (Old Vic), Punchdrunk's The Drowned Man (Temple Studios), Jeeves and Wooster (Duke of York's), 1984 (Almeida), Red Velvet (Tricycle), Bring up the Bodies (Swan), Wolf Hall (Swan), The Mistress Contract (Royal Court), Versailles (Donmar), Blithe Spirit (Guilgud), Jane Eyre (Bristol Old Vic)

#116 RH1234

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 10:01 PM

Yes, having most seats at 65 for this is completely ridiculous!

#117 armadillo

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 10:07 PM

When I saw it the back row was upgraded on mass to the front row. Can't see the next one doing any better given the much less starry cast

#118 peggs

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 08:46 PM

View Postarmadillo, on 24 July 2013 - 10:07 PM, said:

When I saw it the back row was upgraded on mass to the front row.

How annoyed would you have been if you'd paid full wack and where then further back. That said it always seems bit pointless not moving people forward if seats haven't sold as surely it must be better for actors in the audience is all together rather than dotted around the place.

#119 Nicholas

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 12:43 AM

A couple of observations.  1. The toilets still need transforming.  The gents are claustrophobic and too few and blimey what a queue the ladies have.  2.  I’m still not sure I get the stage seats.  Here they weren’t distracting in the strange no-fourth-wall way they were in Macbeth but they’re surely bad to sit in.  I might for The Pride as I’m not too fussed about that play.  3.  Not only was my seat double booked but the seat next to me was triple booked – three separate people had tickets with J12 printed on.

Anywho, this was infinitely better than Macbeth without matching Old Times.  Old Times was, for my money, a perfectly realised version of a truly exceptional play, whilst this was a well judged version of a lesser play of a greater playwright.  A striking, enjoyable and confusing production of a play that is itself striking, enjoyable and confusing.  SRB I felt judged his performance nicely as there was a sense of OTT paranoia and half of that was grounded in reality and half from a sitcom. He was a man who not only believed but perhaps did have this second sight – for every daft, humorous OTT thing he’d say he’d say something completely accurate, like the accurate accusations of murder.  He played it, as I saw it, on the right side of hammy.  Loved John Heffernan.  Thought Indira Varma made her every scene sizzle.  Harry Melling was greatly affecting and brought a reality to the character.  Everyone completely overshadowed by John Simm (though not so much that it was noticeable whilst watching), playing the role as a camp snake and doing so with charisma and oiliness and intelligence – Kenneth Williams as Machiavelli.  Forget how Daniel Radcliffe needs to make sure COI doesn’t leave long lasting damage to his body – will Heffernan, Simm and SRB’s foreheads recover from so much eyebrow raising?

The play’s a striking piece of work (I’d never seen/read it before), which has what might be moments of immaturity or inexperience (it’s great that actors of the standard of Clive Rowe and Christopher Timothy were cast for such minor roles, as (esp Timothy) the roles require as much poise and style as the other more substantial roles, but I can’t tell if the introduction of a new character 10 minutes before the end is a good or bad idea), but also moments of maturity, with this having the air if not the actual politics of his political plays.  The farce/sitcom feel was more Lloyd than Pinter (I think The Homecoming could be played as sitcom-y if wanted) but not unfitting, and that opaque darkness that so often permeates Pinter permeated this.  I’m going to spend the next day trying to answer the questions Pinter asked (How does Varma and Varma’s lust fit in this male, almost chauvinistic world?  What is it about Lamb that casts such a long shadow?  What is it about institutionalism or bureaucracy or madness that we ascertain from this very heightened and very funny piece?).  I’m not sure the piece is perfect and every question will have a satisfactory answer or if indeed some of the questions could be described as plot holes but I very much enjoyed the raising of the questions.  Final comments – not Pinter’s best by any means, but two hours very well spent.  There are problems with this play but I still want to recommend and slightly enthuse.  Despite oddities or what young Pinter thought of audacity, I went along with this.  And Simm is really terrific.




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