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Strange Interlude

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#21 Lynette

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 02:29 PM

They don't always go the same way. Race has very different reviews. I often wonder how a reviewer gets to be one. I mean Libby Purvis was a broadcaster, so no known theatrical leanings. Maybe after many years and it seems to be a long term job, you do get to know what the punters will like.

#22 popcultureboy

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 02:55 PM

Libby Purves was the only lukewarm review of this production as well (that I have read, anyway). Go figure.

Usually, even if I want to open a vein during a show, I can see why critics enjoyed it, or why it's appealing to others but not me. On this one though, I'm stumped.

#23 Honoured Guest

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 03:12 PM

Two stars in the Financial Times from Ian Shuttleworth, praising the production but hating Eugene O'Neill's play. Four stars from Michael Billington in the Guardian for an "excellent" production of a "rum" play, giving each reader enough information to decide whether they, personally, might or might not enjoy the play.

#24 Poly

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 05:00 PM

View PostSnciole, on 05 June 2013 - 12:34 PM, said:

The best thing or possibly worst thing about the play is the fact that because it was written 1928 you get these odd scenes set in the future where nobody has lost any money (Sam would have lost all his money in the depression and Nina would have definitely left), Ned and Charlie keep going off willy nilly to Europe and Baby Gordon hasn't gone off to war and died like sexy dead boyfriend Gordon.

It feels like a sort of Utopia despite the fact every character is having a horrible time.

I think they should have made much more of that, as it's an interesting - and rare - aspect of the play. Instead they approached the play's future as it was our past.

#25 itsuckstobeme

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 10:07 PM

As a general rule I listen to what people on here say rather than the critics but in this instance I agree with the critics, I thought it was extremely good and the 3+ hours flew by, which is more than I can say for Sweet Bird of Youth the previous night.

#26 El Peter

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 11:12 PM

I saw it at its first preview and liked it. The play developed nicely and changed so much during its course that I was taken aback and impressed by Eugene O'Neill's conception of the characters' lives, the way the actors portrayed them, and the manner in which stage design and direction served that. I thought the programme notes were really useful in situating the play in its time and touching on what excited people's interest then. Not five stars, but definitely four stars for a fascinating night at the theatre.

#27 mallardo

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 05:49 PM

For three-quarters of its lengthy duration (including the whole First Act) I thought it was a masterpiece.  A couple of dodgy scenes and some severely under-talented supporting actors brought the Second Act slightly down.

Anne-Marie Duff is, to me, the finest actress currently working on the English stage - or any stage - and she was absolutely brilliant as the turbulent and fascinating Nina.  Darren Pettie, Jason Watkins and, especially, Charles Edwards were almost as good as the three persistent men in her life.  The scenes involving these four, which is to say most of the play, were riveting.

I thought that the technique of externalizing thoughts played wonderfully, in part because it was so well executed.  It added a layer of humour I have never before experienced in an O'Neill play.  

Simon Godwin's smart and fluid production worked like a dream and Soutra Gilmore's sets... wow!
Excuse me if I seem jejune
I promise I'll find my marbles soon.

#28 Mrs Lovett's Meat Pie

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 07:20 PM

Watched this this afternoon. After reading on here I was DREADING it but flipping loved it! The second half did seem a bit more 'eastenders' but the sets were marvellous. Sat in the slips with a random lady I befriended and we were 'coo'ing and 'aww'ing every set change after the interval.

#29 Theatresquirrel

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 09:47 PM

I loved it.

O'Neill gets seriously carried away with himself in the second half, but the production elegantly goes along with the caprice. The more breathless and giddy the play gets, the more the acting and the design correspond to that. I thought the first half was absolutely cracking; the second half definitely gets more like Dynasty in terms of plotting, and there's a lot to swallow, but the NT delivers it with such style. The set is breathtaking (what is it with epic O'Neill plays in the Lyttelton turning into boats in the most spectacular fashion? Mourning Becomes Electra had a similar coup de theatre ten years ago) and the principal actors are just great. Charles Edwards and AMD are as superb as always, and Jason Watkins gives a revelatory performance: he's pitch perfect as Sam. Definitely an actor to look out for in future.

It's not - as most folks concur - a great play but I can't imagine it being given better justice. Good old NT for making it ring so vividly.

#30 armadillo

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 09:53 PM

View PostTheatresquirrel, on 16 June 2013 - 09:47 PM, said:

I loved it.

O'Neill gets seriously carried away with himself in the second half, but the production elegantly goes along with the caprice. The more breathless and giddy the play gets, the more the acting and the design correspond to that. I thought the first half was absolutely cracking; the second half definitely gets more like Dynasty in terms of plotting, and there's a lot to swallow, but the NT delivers it with such style. The set is breathtaking (what is it with epic O'Neill plays in the Lyttelton turning into boats in the most spectacular fashion? Mourning Becomes Electra had a similar coup de theatre ten years ago) and the principal actors are just great. Charles Edwards and AMD are as superb as always, and Jason Watkins gives a revelatory performance: he's pitch perfect as Sam. Definitely an actor to look out for in future.

It's not - as most folks concur - a great play but I can't imagine it being given better justice. Good old NT for making it ring so vividly.
Jason Watkins has been playing leading roles at both the NT and RSC for at least 25 years (eg A Laughing Matter plus having a BBC2 sitcom). I like him but, sadly, I don't think he's ever going to get 'disovered'.





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