Jump to content


Passion Play


  • Please log in to reply
73 replies to this topic

#51 Pharaoh's number 2

Pharaoh's number 2

    Advanced Member

  • Full Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3759 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:London

Posted 21 May 2013 - 08:53 AM

I thought that this dealt with betrayal, adultery and affairs with far greater effect than Pinter did in Betrayal. It packs a punch, whilst at times being incredibly funny. And the use of doppelgängers didn't strike me as just a gimmick. It starts off quite regimented - Owen Teale is the outer self and Oliver Cotton plays the inner thoughts, and the same for Samantha Bond and Zoe Wanamaker - but then as we progress into Act 2, they start to merge. At times they're acting out memories, sometimes they are the outer selves. But rather than feeling as if the writer can't keep it going, it cleverly matches the state of the relationship. It is confused, the two selves have essentially switched. Inner thoughts have spilled out.

It's a tough thing to do, but they pull it off. It must be hard to act, since you have to imagine that half the people on stage aren't actually there. You can't make eye contact with your opposite's inner self. But it's a top notch cast. Zoe Wanamaker is one of my favourite actresses, and she's very good in this. When she finds out of what's been happening, she's emptied. Gone is the confidence and dry-wit which existed before. And to have one character played by both her and Samantha Bond is a bit of a luxury. As is Annabel Scholey, who is utterly gorgeous. She plays Kate - an odd creature, whose mission in life seems to be to ruin marriages. It's a tough part to play, for the character is so unlikeable, yet people fall for her. And in a way we - or certainly I - did too. Sian Thomas, though underused in the underwritten part of Agnes - the ex of one of Kate's former lovers - has a slight chill about her. She wants a mild revenge, calling Kate 'evil', and it her who propels the play forward.

It's a very classy design by Hildegard Bechtler, white screens floating across the stage, making good use of gauzes and the odd pornographic photo. It's all punctuated by choral music - fitting, for Eleanor is in a choir, one of the ways James can plan his soirees with Kate - and the bitter feel at the end, when Eleanor stands there, in front of a twinkling Christmas tree, with In the Bleak Mid Winter playing softly in the background, an utterly broken woman, yet, we hope, on the way up, is tragic. The time of the year making it more so.

I was worried when I went in that it would feel dated, after seeing one of Nichols' other works, Privates on Parade. But whilst this is set in the 80s, and this production hasn't updated it - and I don't think an updating would work - the themes are more than pertinent now.



#52 Alf

Alf

    Advanced Member

  • Full Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 453 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 29 May 2013 - 10:47 AM

View Posttheatreliker, on 09 May 2013 - 10:24 PM, said:

What are day seats like for this in terms of queuing?
Realise this is probably far too late, but I strolled past at 9:45 this morning and there was only one person in the queue. I would've joined myself had they had their matinee on a Wednesday.
My occasionally neglected theatre blog: http://thegreatestof...blogspot.co.uk/
Latest post: Review: 'Blithe Spirit' at the Gielgud Theatre: http://thegreatestof...theatre_10.html

#53 Mark_21

Mark_21

    Advanced Member

  • Full Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 455 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:London

Posted 30 May 2013 - 02:00 AM

I saw this last night after going into atg tickets and grabbing a front row stalls seat for a tenner! I thought it was an excellent play, some great performances! Worth the tenner completly!!
So far in the West End and Off-West End: Wicked, Sister Act, Priscilla, The Lion King, An Inspector Calls, La Cage Aux Folles, Legally Blonde, Waiting For Godot, Blood Brothers, Private Lives, Oliver!, Shirley Valentine, Sweet Charity, All my Sons, Hair, Mamma Mia, End of the Rainbow, Love Story, We Will Rock You, The Children's Hour, The Wizard of Oz, Ordinary Lives, Clybourne Park, Betty Blue Eyes, Thrill Me, Shrek The Musical, Kathy Griffin Live at the Palace, Luise Miller, Billy Elliot, Lend Me A Tenor, Much Ado About Nothing, Park Avenue Cat, Ghost The Musical, The Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies, Les Miserables, Jersey Boys, Betwixt, Rock of Ages, A Round-Heeled Woman, Crazy For You, Masterclass, Absent Friends, Sex with a Stranger, After The Turn, The Awkward Squad, All New People, Hay Fever, Soul Sister, Bird's of a Feather UK Tour, Steel Magnolias UK Tour, The Duchess of Malfi, The Sunshine Boys, Noises Off, What the Butler Saw, South Downs/The Browning Version, Sweeney Todd, Long Day's Journey into Night, War Horse, One Man, Two Guvnors, Abigail's Party, Matilda, London Road, Jumpy, Looserville The Musical, Scrooge The Musical, 9 to 5 UK Tour, My Fair Lady...

2013: 9 to 5 The Musical (UK Tour), The Rocky Horror Show (UK Tour), Kiss Me Kate, The Book of Mormon, The Bodyguard, Quartermaine's Terms (Understudy Run), The Judas Kiss, The Bodyguard, The Winslow Boy, Top Hat, The Bodyguard, Ghost The Musical (UK Tour), Singin' in the Rain, Merrily We Roll Along, The Bodyguard, A Chorus Line, Passion Play, The Audience, Passion Play, The Bodyguard, Sweet Bird of Youth, The Bodyguard, Once...

#54 dude-1981

dude-1981

    Advanced Member

  • Full Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 655 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Richmond

Posted 30 May 2013 - 08:59 PM

View PostNicholas, on 12 May 2013 - 12:34 AM, said:

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.

You had me at "Can I just take a moment to criticise Quentin Letts"
If, for some strange reason you care what I've seen, it's all here:

http://pcchan1981.livejournal.com/

#55 Beth

Beth

    Advanced Member

  • Full Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 163 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 17 June 2013 - 06:32 PM

Unfortunately I can't make it next week, so I have a spare ticket (third row stalls, Monday 24th, going for a tenner).  If anyone is interested, I've put details up on the ticket exchange board.

#56 Epicoene

Epicoene

    Advanced Member

  • Full Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1240 posts

Posted 18 June 2013 - 08:22 AM

View PostNicholas, on 12 May 2013 - 12:34 AM, said:

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..
Excellent Guardian parody. Well done. People queue round the block for nudity in "serious" plays (Equus, for example) so why shouldn't Letts publicise that aspect for his many interested readers ?

#57 KevinUK

KevinUK

    Advanced Member

  • Full Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 871 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 23 June 2013 - 08:38 PM

I saw this last night and enjoyed it - row BB is a bargain for 10 (avoid AA). For the life of me I couldn't place Samantha Bond though.

I don't know what it's like further back, but being at the front made it quite uncomfortable viewing, because you just get sucked into the drama (which is why I love front rows).

A strange script with a lot of choices made I wouldn't have personally stood for (in the same situation), but enjoyable nonetheless.

Odd ending though.
If I stay awake, it must be good.

#58 Nicholas

Nicholas

    Advanced Member

  • Full Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 331 posts

Posted 25 June 2013 - 10:59 PM

View PostEpicoene, on 18 June 2013 - 08:22 AM, said:

Excellent Guardian parody. Well done. People queue round the block for nudity in "serious" plays (Equus, for example) so why shouldn't Letts publicise that aspect for his many interested readers ?

My parents read the Guardian, evidently it’s rubbing off.  Anywho, no-one enjoys onstage nudity more than me (in a good play it's artistic, in a bad play it livens things up), but firstly Letts' vocabulary is, to say the very least, reductionist, and secondly as I see it a critic ought to offer insight and “Attractive people are attractive and possibly moreso when they take their clothes off” isn’t insight.

#59 DrP

DrP

    Advanced Member

  • Full Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 267 posts

Posted 01 July 2013 - 02:51 PM

Some dodgy photoshopping in the promo email sent out today!!

#60 theatreliker

theatreliker

    Advanced Member

  • Full Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 364 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 01 July 2013 - 03:04 PM

I'm possibly dayseating for this on Saturday for the matinee. Anyone know what the queues will be like because I won't be able to get there for 10 I'm afraid. If not I imagine they will have some balcony seats left... anyone know what the views from balcony are like there? Better than the Apollo?
2014 theatre: Blithe Spirit (Gielgud)  Booked: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Savoy)  Waterbabies (Curve)  View from the Bridge (Young Vic)  Birdland (Royal Court).




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users