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Narrative, Upstairs At The Royal Court


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#1 foxa

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 09:00 AM

This was one of those experimental plays which was most effective when it was least experimental.  There were a couple of really interesting scenes: a needy woman whose boyfriend is trying to break up with her; a commercial audition; an interview.  Other bits were painfully dull - there were a few walk outs in the first half hour (it runs one hour fifty minutes and plays with no interval.)  I was checking my watch from roughly that point on. There were some characters who you felt an inward groan when they'd come back onstage.  It starts intriguingly and there is this motif of bison which seemed to have some promise.  But despite some good cast members, I can't recommend it.

#2 Honoured Guest

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 07:56 PM

I wonder whether this is the final version or whether Anthony Neilson will keep revising it through its run. I liked some of it very much but I think I'd have made more sense of it if it had been quite heavily cut, but without losing any of its components, if that is possible! Alternatively, I feel it would have been good to run previews for a week, in its present form, and then work further on it for a week or two before presenting a proper run. I know that would have been a costly process, but The Low Road has set a precedent for an increased budget and it seems over-constrained to write and direct a new play within a normal rehearsal period.

#3 Backdrifter

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 10:19 AM

I enjoyed Narrative very much. It didn't really take me anywhere but I enjoyed the journey. The performances were all good. Bits of it fell victim to its willful weirdness and at times it was annoying, but it could also be laugh-out-loud funny and that's mostly what I took away from it. The assassins were hilarious (I wonder if Martin McDonagh has seen it). I also liked Imogen Doel's 'horns' segments - nice technical touches on the sound. Speaking of sound, near the end, is it the tripods' call from Spielberg's War of the Worlds we hear? Imogen Doel is very cute, it was nice to have Zawe Ashton sitting next to me a couple of times, and I love Sophie Ross's accent. So I did well out of it on that front too.

It must be nice to be able to 'get away' with a play like this. Writers who always find themselves with odds & sods of scenes, unfinished/unbeginninged stories and dialogue snippets must be looking at this and thinking, jammy sod.

It's also another play that made me think that a lot of plays seem written specifically for a particular venue and time. I can't see this being performed anywhere else, or ever again.

PS Mods, can this thread be merged with the one started earlier here: http://www.whatsonst...8940-narrative/
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