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A Mad World My Masters

1950s

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#1 Lynette

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 10:14 PM

Excellent evening in theatre. Not sure what play it was, something of a rewrite I think, but it all worked. Again, as in As You, good music and well used. A bit of audience partic but not overmuch, one brill joke about the text, one magical appearance, some dancing.... What more could you ask?

#2 xanderl

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 05:13 AM

It's an updated and trimmed version, not sure how radical the changes are.

There's no "it's" in the title incidentally: perhaps you are getting mixed up with "It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world!" ;)
"witty ... both made me laugh but also gave me pause" - Mark Shenton, The Stage

#3 Carfax

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 09:35 AM

View PostLynette, on 26 June 2013 - 10:14 PM, said:

Excellent evening in theatre....one brill joke about the text, one magical appearance, some dancing.... What more could you ask?

Entirely agree with this.  Thoroughly entertaining production, very good cast and well-judged use of music.   The joke about the text was an excellent touch.  Also particularly liked Penitent Brothel's 'temptation' scene.

It's a pity that there's no sign of a London transfer for this or 'Titus Andronicus'; both are a cut above the general run of recent RSC productions.

#4 Lynette

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 10:41 AM

Xanderl,  ta , have edited title. I'm easily confused.

#5 Honoured Guest

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 10:45 AM

View Postxanderl, on 15 June 2013 - 07:20 AM, said:

Anyone booked for this? Great reviews (except for the Guardian), sounds like a fairly blatant attempt at another "One Man Two Guvnors"

View PostPharaoh, on 15 June 2013 - 07:24 AM, said:

I've booked but am not there 'til September. In an interview with Foley, the director came first and not the play. And Foley made it clear he didn't want to direct a Shakespeare.

View PostEpicoene, on 15 June 2013 - 08:19 AM, said:

Yes I am seeing same day as Titus in July

Lynette, why didn't you eat your last jelly baby?

#6 Lynette

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Posted 27 June 2013 - 11:33 AM

I couldn't find it. Sorry dearie.

#7 xanderl

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 09:38 PM

More details about the changes in this version in this article by Billers ...http://www.guardian....e-classic-plays

It sounds like good fun but I agree with his point about radical changes to rarely performed plays being a bit annoying
"witty ... both made me laugh but also gave me pause" - Mark Shenton, The Stage

#8 Lynette

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 09:53 PM

I think this play was always meant to be a riot and I expect the original cast had huge fun with in jokes and contemporary characters. Hamlet it ain't.

#9 Duncan

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 11:17 PM

Saw this last weekend and loved it.

According to the editors they ditched 20% of the play, but of what remains, 97% is original Middleton. Billington is griping about aspects of the original being lost and has quoted bits that were cut.

However, the updated bits are clearly signposted and are actually hilarious, compensating for the opaque nature of much of the original humour.

More importantly, contrary to the impression in Billington's piece, the edit retains a lot of the original 'difficult' language and does not spoonfeed the audience with totally modern English. Watching this production, like most Shakespeare, you have to concentrate and apply extra processing power to decode precise meanings.

It's almost as if the gags about pearl necklaces and angry young men at the Royal Court were rewards for that effort.

What has been done here is simply a more aggressive version of the kind of editing that goes on all the time in Shakespeare productions: cutting the first 40 lines of Romeo and Juliet to remove the confusing wordplay about carrying coals, colliers, choler and collars; or the changes to Measure For Measure to specify that brothels are being demolished in Vienna's suburbs rather than just 'houses'.

In conclusion, having seen the play and bought the play text and read it through, I'm satisfied with the way the play has been made more accessible while maintaining a profound respect for the original.

ps. when I saw it Saturday night the audience groaned at a funny but rather corny joke. The actor turned on the audience and adlibbed "Thomas Middleton, 1605" as if to specify that the joke in question was part of the original and not one of Foley and Porter's additions.

#10 Carfax

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 06:06 AM

View PostDuncan, on 02 July 2013 - 11:17 PM, said:

ps. when I saw it Saturday night the audience groaned at a funny but rather corny joke. The actor turned on the audience and adlibbed "Thomas Middleton, 1605" as if to specify that the joke in question was part of the original and not one of Foley and Porter's additions.
This was part of the performance I saw too (not on Saturday night) so it's part of the production (although it's not in the revised text so it may have originated in an ad lib and been retained; very nicely done, in any event.  As one of the 'comments' in response to Michael Billington's article in the Guardian yesterday points out, Billington doesn't always object to revising plays - but he seems to have a bee in his bonnet about this production for some reason.  Nice to see it that (Billington apart) it seems to have been generally well-received.




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