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NicholasMember Since 24 Sep 2012
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Posted Nicholas on Yesterday, 12:32 AM
Bar/restaurant is open before. I don’t know when the bar open if you want to go get a pizza beforehand, but it must be open at least an hour before the play for you to get your food ordered. I think food is just pizza (if memory serves one meat, one veg, £6), though there’s a fair choice of drinks. They all look nice, so I’d probably say take a punt on drinks if you like that sort of thing! I just find cocktails, though nice, hideously overpriced and didn't really like the idea of doing shots on my tod...
There’s no rush for seats when the doors open, but you might want to head in a fair bit of time ahead. I think I went in about quarter/ten to and the stalls were only half filled up. It’s unallocated temporary wooden seats (you might want to sneak a cushion in because they’re not the comfiest of things, though an hour and a half is fine). If you want a front row or specific seat I’d go in early but I’d say ten or fifteen minutes ahead should give you time to sit where you want. If you want food or drink before my advice would be head to Hoxton Hall much earlier than you'd normally get to the theatre so you can eat andd drink and then head in with time to spare. I think the view from the back would be no different to the view from the front. In fact, it’s quite intense and claustrophobic and I like being at least two or three rows away from the actors, but that’s just me. Because it's small I think you'd lose nothing at the back and I don't remember any pillars or anything that'd interrupt a view... I’m not sure how much helps but I hope it’s some good!
Posted Nicholas on 09 December 2013 - 12:37 AM
As for the ‘live music and hard liquor’… They’ve done things to Hoxton Hall to give it exactly the right feel – it’s not Punchdrunk/Secret Cinema but it’s dolled up just the right amount. The bar’s very 1920s and the seats are just wooden uncomfortable things. You can go buy food and drink beforehand (I didn’t see many restaurants in Hoxton, so either eat at Hoxton Hall or at home before you leave) in the bar where recorded music is played or go wait in the theatre where live music is played (nice jazz group). The O’Neill bit constitutes an hour and a half of the evening – my ticket said it goes on for three hours so I guess there’s another hour and a half of live music and hard liquor. You can, however, leave at any point. Being more solo than I expected I felt a tad conspicuous, I find drinking alone awkward, especially in public (I wish I could say that’s stopped me in the past) and it seemed relatively costly – I think £8.50 a cocktail and £3 a shot, and whilst they looked nice I thought £8.50 to spend on other things later would be nicer. I stayed to see the band start and then headed home (I don’t think I’d even be on a train back yet had I stayed until the end) – started 7, for me ended about 8:45. I don’t know what happens if you stay longer, maybe it theatrically comes to life – I’m quite certain I saw Ruth Wilson still in costume in the bar, so perhaps the ensemble keep performing (it might just be they want a drink afterwards, and they deserve one). I, however, and some others left not long after the play and I’m happy I did as just hanging around would have made me feel self-conscious. If anyone hangs around, please tell me what else happens – I think it is just jazz and drinks but you never know.
Overall, then, a thumbs up. Perfectly good plays given as good an approach as they could hope and, I’m sure, fun drinking afterwards if you want to hang around. Whilst watching I found them atmospheric and engaging and emotive, if not spiritually affecting pieces of work. On the way home I’ve enjoyed comparing them and finding links (there certainly are) but I’ve not come to any grand realisations, which is why I’m calling them slighter plays. Still, slight Eugene O’Neill’s hardly worth complaining about, and anything put together with this much coherence and talent is going to be worth watching. Maybe the same ensemble, in the same place, with the same approach to post-theatre drinking and jazz, but performing Mourning Becomes Electra or The Ice(wo)man Cometh would hit the heights of genuine greatness, but this is as great as these plays can be.
Posted Nicholas on 06 December 2013 - 02:05 AM
No. No. No. I’m a Doctor Who fan but there were moments where I could imagine myself as a ten year old girl madly in love with that zany man off the telly watching him do things to women, men and teddy bears and bursting into tears. It’s not explicit but it is adult and frankly a lot would go over a young person’s head.
One of my first thoughts in the interval was "Come press night, this will have some absolutely stinking reviews". I can read Quentin Letts’ one star (two if generous) review already. People walked out. In the interval what looked like the father of two fangirls said "That first half seemed like three hours". It’s going to be divisive.
I, however, loved it. Matt Smith is great – yes, some notes weren’t fantastic but I found that easier to buy into than a pitch perfect Patrick Bateman and in every other way he was offputting and disconcerting and odd and compelling and incredible. Frankly the weird shape of his head gives enough to the role (look at those ears – he’s clearly Adam Godley’s bastard child) but he is a fine fine actor and absolutely nailed it. From the second he came on stage like that I knew we were in for a treat – a treat others wouldn’t like but a funky and unusual treat. He really is a superb actor and frankly a superb enough singer.
As for the play, I’m unfamiliar with the source but I (and a few others, judging by the few but loud laughs this got) found it absolutely hilarious. The music works because it’s utterly ludicrous – the line about there being nothing ironic about their love of Manolo Blahnik just made me laugh typing it. It’s a flippant take on a flippant idea. As a genre of music (very 80s synth Giorgio Morodor-style) it’s not something I’m familiar with or listen to for pleasure but I thought they were good tunes – not catchy (though some are stuck in my head) but not meant to be, they suited the show. Harmonies and rhythms that did something just off what you'd expect which made you never calm. It’s a rollicking romp and it’s hilarious and it’s dark but not in a profound way and I loved every second of it. In years to come, it must be admitted, we won’t be talking about this in hallowed tones and after The Scottsboro Boys this isn’t exactly the most complicated dark affecting musical I’ve seen. It is not as a piece of art a five star show. However, as a satire and piece of entertainment it’s the best in London. I do love some dark satire and if anyone else does they should see it. I want to see it again – not because it’s hugely affecting and the best show I’ll see this year but because I had so much damn fun watching it. I genuinely can’t think of another way to say it. I’ve seen shows I would call lovely this year and this most certainly is not one – there are scenes that were as unlovely as a musical starring Doctor Who can be. But I LOVED it. Whatever is wrong with it (and at least one person here will absolutely hate it, so tell me all its faults) I couldn’t see. So much fun, absolutely raucous entertainment. Admittedly for a sick type of humour – there’s one scene in a club where there’s a cut which is there for exaggerated shock value where about three people (including myself) laughed and many more gasped – but there were probably under ten percent of the audience who laughed at these dark bits and I’m happy to say I was one of them. Not everyone’s cup of tea but absolutely mine. I LOVED IT.
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 - 05:04 PM
Wait - Julia McKenzie was there but didn't perform? The National bloody made her! She should have performed the entirity of Sweeney Todd again alone wearing nothing but a placard saying "Thank You" because the building made her, etc, etc...
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.