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Passion Play


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#41 theatreliker

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 10:24 PM

What are day seats like for this in terms of queuing?
2014 theatre: Blithe Spirit (Gielgud)  Booked: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Savoy)  Waterbabies (Curve)  View from the Bridge (Young Vic)  Birdland (Royal Court).

#42 Nicholas

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 12:34 AM

Can I just take a moment to criticise Quentin Letts' review of this?  Given what I've written about Ms Scholey it might seem hypocritical but a.) it was in jest and goodness knows I was overemphasising and b.) I'm not paid to encourage people whether to see a work of theatre or not based on its artistic merit.  I remember, when Mr Letts reviewed Richard II, thinking his comment of (and I quote) "Maybe Mr Redmayne is simply too good looking to play a character this problematic" showed a slightly troubled outlook on theatre, especially next to Billington's measured treatment of Redmayne's (in my opinion haunting and tender despite being good-looking) performance.  What in God's name does that even mean?  All problematic people are ugly?  Redmayne can only play unproblematic characters?  Whishaw's BAFTA-nominated Richard II works because (not true) Whishaw's ugly?

But that's by the bye now.  Mr Letts' treatment of Passion Play is fine.  It's his treatment of Scholey that's troubling.  Characters' attractiveness can be important in plays - Uncle Vanya needs a more attractive Yelena than Sasha, and here the character ought to be attractive for her siren-esque allure to work - but I think how an attractive actor/actress plays the part is more important than what their curves are like in complementing a production.  PHWOAR stars?  I bet Mr Letts was chuffed when he thought of that one.   His closing line - "Miss Scholey may provoke reactions from a lower part of the anatomy" - seems, to say the least, a reductionist approach to Nichols' writing, Leveaux's direction, the cast's performances and Ms Scholey's performance which includes things such as learning lines, reciting lines, imbuing personality to a fictitious person and interacting with others doing the same thing.   I think the reason I find it troubling is I said it on an internet message board with tongue firmly in cheek and knowing that no-one was going to read what I said as an authority.  Mr Letts...

Well, a theatre critic's job is surely to say more than "And she was attractive and when she dropped her clothes OH MAMA!"  In dealing with a character of more depth that would be completely silly - imagine saying "Meryl Streep was fine as Thatcher but in that scene with a low cut top blimey Charlie!" - and it seems a tad offensive to Ms Scholey the actress to say the best thing about her was Ms Scholey the possessor of attractive anatomy.  The reason it’s bad is really that from Mr Letts I have no idea whether Ms Scholey’s a good actress or not, just that she’s attractive, and I want more in an artistic critique.

To return to the Vanya comparison I made earlier, last year Yelena was played by Laura Pulver, who proved in Sherlock how she could turn heads, who struck me as a woman liable to crack under her justified sadness, and by Anna Friel, who is attractive but seemed more stilted (an opinion on which others differed, I know).  Yelena's very difficult because she can seem (well, she is) self-pitying and when her problem is "I'm too attractive, three men have fallen for me and I married the old one" whilst Sonya's is "I'm in hopeless love and will work until I die" being sympathetic can be hard, but Pulver made me understand her more where Friel didn't.  The reason Scholey is attractive in this is partly the body and partly the disrobing but she also has a smoulder and makes you believe she would instigate this unbelievable affair and brings charisma.  Disrobing maketh not the actress, and to base the entire criticism of the performance on whether he gave seated mid-performance standing ovations or not seems crude, reductionist and bad writing.

That was more than a moment.  Rant over.  I know Letts quoted this board once, so who knows, perhaps I'll be in an article of his.

#43 mallardo

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 06:29 AM

I can't disagree with you, Nicholas (except over Anna Friel) although I too made mention of Ms Scholey's physical allure in a review on this board. I doubt, though, that the actress (or her agent) will be offended.  Quite the contrary. I'm betting that, as with Ms Pulver, the offers will now come pouring in. It has been a great career move.  I'd also bet that there will be a lot of Daily Mail reading husbands out there looking across the breakfast table and suggesting "an evening at the theatre."
Excuse me if I seem jejune
I promise I'll find my marbles soon.

#44 theatreliker

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 12:16 PM

Anyone dayseated/ dayseating?
Thanks.
2014 theatre: Blithe Spirit (Gielgud)  Booked: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Savoy)  Waterbabies (Curve)  View from the Bridge (Young Vic)  Birdland (Royal Court).

#45 popcultureboy

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 07:18 AM

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crude, reductionist and bad writing.

Thus in keeping with every review Letts ever writes then?

#46 jaqs

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 08:18 AM

Saw this at the weekend, Wanamaker gave  everything and everyone else seemed in a dream state in comparison. Agree she didnt need a second actress to spew her thoughts we could see everything on her face.
The first half wasnt so bad so I stayed but it lost me part way through the second and just didnt hold my attention.

#47 Deal J

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 11:14 AM

Many of the comments have said similar about the leads not needing second actors, and I agree Zoe Wanamaker is expressive enough - but the play wasn't written to allow for incompetent actors, it's so we can literally see the impact of their actions on their minds.
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#48 popcultureboy

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 02:07 PM

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but the play wasn't written to allow for incompetent actors, it's so we can literally see the impact of their actions on their minds.

But all it did for me was distract and annoy. Not, I'm guessing, what Nichols was aiming for.

#49 Lynette

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 03:04 PM

Is Letts a theatre critic? I thought he was a gossip columnist.

#50 Honoured Guest

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 04:02 PM

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