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NicholasMember Since 24 Sep 2012
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Posted Nicholas on 04 December 2013 - 11:58 PM
Take it as read that the cast, the orchestra, the crew and the production as a whole is more than excellent.
Incidentally (spoilers), here’s how I read the woman and the ending. There was racial injustice in the 1930s, and that was truly terrible. We’ve progressed – we’ve got a black president. That means it just as easily could have ended with one of the characters playing Obama and it end with him swearing the presidential oath. But had we ended that way it would have suggested that’s that. To end with Rosa Parks – a symbol of defiance, racism and change – is to end on a question mark as opposed to a full stop. It’s all the more powerful for it.
Posted Nicholas on 04 December 2013 - 11:54 PM
Posted Nicholas on 17 November 2013 - 02:50 AM
Then we get to Act Two and it’s like it’s a different play. Suddenly Wesker makes his points about roots and escaping family well. The dialogue works as a debate whilst being recognisable. And more importantly, Linda Bassett! It’s such a wonderful performance. The bit where they empty the bath water – yet another bloody mundanity – set to classical music was a lovely mingling of the two cultures. Act Three laid it on thick, but Act Two, mainly because it was just them, was very nice. Having family a bit like Bassett’s character, I recognised the language (there goes that specific bus – family actually say that). The accents (vaguely) settled. It was such a step up and frankly I wish it was a one act two hander. Then we get to Act Three and it’s heavy handed, but I enjoyed spending time with the characters. Thematically it says what it said in Act Two but louder, but they were pleasant company or, at least, there was a nice balance between Bassett’s worldliness and Raine’s pretentiousness. Also, given that the idea that going away can change someone so that former close friends and family are no longer that close affects most people, it should have touched a nerve in a way it never did. It was fine.
So, a bit heavy handed, a bit obvious, themes I’ve seen before (in fact, in trying to escape drab Northern roots by improving one’s mind, themes Bennett staged wonderfully in Cocktail Sticks – wonderfully and in only 45 minutes) and unremarkable. Overall, not bad, almost ‘good’.
Posted Nicholas on 04 November 2013 - 05:02 PM
Oddly enough, I completely agree about Rylance, but where it didn't work for you that's precisely why it worked for me. Opinions are funny old things, aren't they?
Posted Nicholas on 26 October 2013 - 11:34 PM
I've already commented once, and have this to add. A few years ago, when I'd occasionally go to the theatre but before I was a theatregoer, I saw two shows (in my memory in quick succession, in reality a year apart) which both knocked me one for six and made me realise that if the medium could affect me as much as these two shows did I must become a theatregoer. When anyone asked, I'd cite those two shows as the best I'd ever seen. That feeling was the feeling I had upon leaving A Doll's House at the Young Vic - affected, enlightened, educated, blown away - which was all the more affecting as my theatrical knowledge and experience is so much greater than those years ago. With my memories so perfect, I was a little trepidatious at the idea of going again, since as Rory Kinnear said in his platform when you see a show again you become more aware of the mechanics and notice the faults. But I decided I had to go, I'd feel terrible knowing that I missed something as powerful as this (even having already seen it once). Could it live up to expectations?
My God, it surpassed them. Just as last time, I jumped to my feet the second the applause started and then, when the lights went up and I was myself again, I could hardly feel my legs. I still don't know how a show can physically affect my nerves so much and get under my skin like that, but this did. It was that stunning, that powerful. Perfection intellectually and emotionally - tears in my eyes for the entirity of act three. If I noticed anything different it was little touches that must have passed me by the first time (there was one moment when, when talking to Torvald, there's an almost unnoticable change in Nora's voice that's very much a girl as opposed to the woman she was when talking to Kristine that's just superlative acting). On the way back I couldn't read or listen to music, I just relived the show and all its emotional rigours in my mind. And I know I will for the next few days. I both want to see every show on offer and feel that I've peaked and anything, after this, will disappoint. If you missed it, go to New York. I might.
So, hyperbole schmyperbole and subjectivity schmubjectivity. You can disagree with me, and I know some people here will. But this is my opinion. This is the greatest production I have ever seen, and Hattie Morahan's performance the greatest performance I have ever seen.
Posted Nicholas on 15 October 2013 - 01:39 AM
Some of mine are:
-Top Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
-The Power of Yes Minister
-Thug Life of Galileo
-A Midsummer Night's Wet Dream
-Jersey Potato Boys
-Bob The Master Builder
-Seven Samurai Against Thebes
-The Royal Hunt of the Sun-On-Sunday
Posted Nicholas on 12 October 2013 - 11:25 PM
Posted Nicholas on 20 September 2013 - 12:50 PM
Posted Nicholas on 19 September 2013 - 11:31 PM
I wonder if Blithe Spirit is on hold or going to another theatre. TRH have recently produced Barking in Essex at the Wyndhams so there is a possibility that Fatal Attraction could open elsewhere.
Neither. Instead, Angela Lansbury's playing the bunny boiler.
Posted Nicholas on 13 September 2013 - 12:29 AM
If someone introduced themself as Lynette or Alf or suchlike, I'd just have to ask. If someone introduced themself as Peggs or Pharoah or Mr TheatreMadGoer, I'd just be concerned.
Posted Nicholas on 09 September 2013 - 06:43 PM
All opinions are subjective, but this is more subjective than most. If the RSC gave me carte blanche and limitless money to make an As You Like It just for me I think I wouldn’t have pulled it off as well as Maria Aberg did as every little element seemed aimed just at me. I’m a huuuuge Laura Marling fan so I now have a new Laura Marling album, I loved the costumes, the sets, every actor, blah blah blah, I’ll stop boring you, but this production could have been geared directly at me. So I loved it. That’s hugely personal, but I do think most people who don’t share my tastes would enjoy it. It just so happens that Maria Aberg shares my tastes. So this was joyous, for me. Joyous for my friend who is admittedly very similar to me in temperament and tastes and joyous, from the reception, for the whole audience, so maybe it's not as subjective as I think. But I bet I enjoyed it more than most.
Posted Nicholas on 23 August 2013 - 04:52 PM
What part of Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch strikes you as silly?
Anywho, as long as he can do the Z episode of Cabin Pressure and lets me know how he survived that bloody fall, he can do what the hell he likes as far as I’m concerned.
Posted Nicholas on 09 August 2013 - 01:44 AM
Just to clarify, I'm not saying Hugh Jackman's better than others, nor that his is by definition more emotional because it's 'real' (because, obviously, the emotions a grander singer puts in are equally real), but I'm saying that purer version wouldn't have worked for this film. But I did think Hugh was fab in the film. A fair comparison would be the moment of the barricades - on stage it's a goosebump-inducing moment of set design that I've not seen for 15 years or so and remember, and in the film it's a moment of character unity where a combined good has very small acts - the giving away of a chair or suchlike - combining to a grand moment - goosebump inducing but for different reasons. The stage barricade has the edge, but that's not to devalue how brilliant the film barricade was.
It's late. I'm tired. I ramble. Sorry.
Posted Nicholas on 30 July 2013 - 12:43 AM
Anywho, this was infinitely better than Macbeth without matching Old Times. Old Times was, for my money, a perfectly realised version of a truly exceptional play, whilst this was a well judged version of a lesser play of a greater playwright. A striking, enjoyable and confusing production of a play that is itself striking, enjoyable and confusing. SRB I felt judged his performance nicely as there was a sense of OTT paranoia and half of that was grounded in reality and half from a sitcom. He was a man who not only believed but perhaps did have this second sight – for every daft, humorous OTT thing he’d say he’d say something completely accurate, like the accurate accusations of murder. He played it, as I saw it, on the right side of hammy. Loved John Heffernan. Thought Indira Varma made her every scene sizzle. Harry Melling was greatly affecting and brought a reality to the character. Everyone completely overshadowed by John Simm (though not so much that it was noticeable whilst watching), playing the role as a camp snake and doing so with charisma and oiliness and intelligence – Kenneth Williams as Machiavelli. Forget how Daniel Radcliffe needs to make sure COI doesn’t leave long lasting damage to his body – will Heffernan, Simm and SRB’s foreheads recover from so much eyebrow raising?
The play’s a striking piece of work (I’d never seen/read it before), which has what might be moments of immaturity or inexperience (it’s great that actors of the standard of Clive Rowe and Christopher Timothy were cast for such minor roles, as (esp Timothy) the roles require as much poise and style as the other more substantial roles, but I can’t tell if the introduction of a new character 10 minutes before the end is a good or bad idea), but also moments of maturity, with this having the air if not the actual politics of his political plays. The farce/sitcom feel was more Lloyd than Pinter (I think The Homecoming could be played as sitcom-y if wanted) but not unfitting, and that opaque darkness that so often permeates Pinter permeated this. I’m going to spend the next day trying to answer the questions Pinter asked (How does Varma and Varma’s lust fit in this male, almost chauvinistic world? What is it about Lamb that casts such a long shadow? What is it about institutionalism or bureaucracy or madness that we ascertain from this very heightened and very funny piece?). I’m not sure the piece is perfect and every question will have a satisfactory answer or if indeed some of the questions could be described as plot holes but I very much enjoyed the raising of the questions. Final comments – not Pinter’s best by any means, but two hours very well spent. There are problems with this play but I still want to recommend and slightly enthuse. Despite oddities or what young Pinter thought of audacity, I went along with this. And Simm is really terrific.
Posted Nicholas on 26 July 2013 - 02:20 AM