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Member Since 24 Sep 2012
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#290977 Coriolanus

Posted Nicholas on 29 January 2014 - 12:40 PM

Well, thanks for the advice, one and all (and next time I’ll remember that specifics are good).  Long night’s journey into day, several nocturnal walks and beating my previous record for longest time queuing by about half an hour, I have a ticket for tonight (a seat, no less, thank goodness).  Had a very sad moment of introspection when I realised I was getting cold and wet purely to see a Danish lady, tick a Shakespeare off my list and because I can’t make a cinema date…  Also, like Brian Cox in The Weir, when coffee shops finally opened I too almost cried upon simply eating a sandwich.  But thanks, it worked.  If you want to day seat I’d reckon even 5 would be too late – the people at the start of the queue were there from 10:30 and it got busy between 4 and 5 (at 1ish, I was fifth in the queue).  Incidentally, the returns queue on Saturday at 4ish (when I passed by) was about 10 people long already, so even that’s something of a challenge.  Now, bloody hell, I’d better bloody enjoy it.

#290581 Rickson Mulling Mojo Revival

Posted Nicholas on 26 January 2014 - 01:18 AM

View PostPharaoh, on 25 January 2014 - 08:37 PM, said:

Rickson was sat in front of me at the last night of Protest Song, starring "that man from the National".

Your story, Latecomer, reminds me of when I was at Arturo Ui and sat next to me was Dame Eileen Atkins. We had the most wonderful conversation during the interval, discussing Brecht, new writing and theatre criticism. I felt very lucky!

NO!  Wow!  Bloody hell!  Out of curiosity, how did the conversation come up?  Did you turn to her and go “Blimey, you’re only bloody Dame Eileen Atkins, wow!” and she go “Yes, thank you” (or words to that extent) and from that conversation arose, or was it like Latecomer where you just started chatting and then the penny dropped?  I think the pair of you have just told the most envy-inducing anecdotes I’ve heard in a long long time.

#290100 I'd Really Love To See...

Posted Nicholas on 21 January 2014 - 11:42 PM

View Postarmadillo, on 21 January 2014 - 11:44 AM, said:

David Tennant in my bedroom...

I want to make a joke about Tennant accepting that and then signing on to an extension but it might cross taste and libel boundaries so I won't make it.

#289563 Happy Days The Musical

Posted Nicholas on 15 January 2014 - 11:34 AM

In a month, when Happy Days opens at the Young Vic, this thread is going to confuse me and give me false hope about the prospect of buried-to-the-waist musical numbers.

#289562 What I'm Looking Forward To In 2014.....

Posted Nicholas on 15 January 2014 - 11:26 AM

There are bits and bobs, but mostly I’m looking forwards to this year’s Chimerica.  By that, I mean this year’s play that I take little interest in, I find the synopsis not for me, I decide I can avoid, I let pass me by, I read fantastic reviews of, I hear fantastic things on this board, I have it recommended to me, I cave in, I buy a ticket and I am absolutely blown away by.  There are plays coming up I know I’ll enjoy and some I’m on the fence about booking for until reviews, but Chimerica especially stood out as there is no way I wouldn’t have seen it without reviews and, mainly, the board.  When you can’t see everything you do have to discriminate and that being the case it is possible to let great theatre slide you by (I missed A Doll’s House first time round) but when you get the chance to see that bit more theatre then, for me, it’s the gems you unearth (admittedly with help) and the unexpected treats that stand out.  Chimerica sidewswept me.  I can’t wait to see what play sideswipes me this year.

Oh, and also Guys and Dolls.  Please make that happen.

#289561 My Favourite Things In 2013

Posted Nicholas on 15 January 2014 - 11:22 AM

Nice list, and I must say I’m especially pleased to see Private Lives in there as you seem to be the only person other than me to have brought it up!  But that just shows why I’ve enjoyed this thread so much – it’s been fascinating to see how some plays seem to top everyone’s lists, others crop up maybe once and some (I’d say most notably a certain fairy-tale docu-drama) top some best lists and top some worst lists.  Some lists place shows I hated higher than shows I love and I find that unbelievable, just because I can’t get in a mindset where that show is better than that show.  But I’m sure people read what I think and find it equally unbelievable, and that’s why I like being on this board – even when someone says they hated a show I loved or vice versa it’s great to see why.  It’s been fun using this list to reminisce about what I think has been a great year for theatre and to relive great shows that haven’t quite cut my top ten, but on top of that it’s been fun realising just how at odds people here sometimes are!  I hope 2014’s equally good and more importantly I hope that this time next year, as this year, no two top or bottom lists are the same!

Hope exams went well!

#289203 The Duchess Of Malfi (Gemma Arterton)

Posted Nicholas on 11 January 2014 - 01:34 PM

I was very close indeed: my seat was C1 (£25) in the pit.  The best way to describe the seating plan is a series of benches that face into the aisle.  Thus row C wasn’t the third back from the stage.  Seat 1 in every aisle is the closest to the stage, the person in C2 was behind me the person in C3 behind them and so on.  My brother was in B1 and thus was to my left.  As it were, row 1 is the front row and row 2 is the second row, the lettering representative of how central you’ll be.  I wonder if a seat like C10 will be bad as there’ll be 9 people ahead of you all turning.  I must say I lucked out, but there probably are bad seats in this theatre.

Being in seats B and C 1, we were both within touching distance of the stage (and during the interval I couldn’t resist) and thus when an actor would enter or leave through the central aisle they’d pass the steps right in front of me (thus the getting hit by costumes which are, as it happens, heavy!).  There were a couple of moments when anyone from a lover to a murderer would crouch at the front of the stage and they could have shook my hand, they were directly in front of me, as close to me as was the person in seat C2.  There are some other theatres where that's the case but, perhaps the light or the tone or whatever, I felt it here more than I do at Jermyn Street or the Donmar etc.  May I ask what seat you’re in?  If it says 1 you’ll be directly next to the stage, whichever row, and even if you’re further back you’ll probably feel very close.  I can’t imagine anywhere in here won’t feel intimate, but especially the pit.

You mention neckache – C is a higher row than B – A is more central but quite low, D is high so no neck-ache but not central.  In fact C’s a great compromise and will be my seat in the future if I get lucky.  My brother, in B, did say in the interval his neck ached a bit but it wasn’t serious, I don’t think.

I will be fascinated to see what the very restricted views are like.  There’s the pit, the lower gallery and the upper gallery (names might be wrong).  The pit is central and oh so intimate but low - not problematically low though.  The lower gallery is either facing the stage side-on or facing it centrally but a bit further back.  The upper gallery are the same but higher so looking down.  I imagine the very restricted views have heads, pillars in the way etc.  I do hope you like it today, Mrs Lovett, and I hope you all going later do as well!

I'm rather enjoying the fact that no-one but me's been yet.  For one brief glorious moment I'm the authority on something.

#289162 Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Globe Theatre

Posted Nicholas on 11 January 2014 - 12:45 AM

Wow.  That word inadvertently escaped my mouth as my jaw quite literally dropped upon entering this building.  It is a work of art, it is a thing of quite extraordinary beauty.  When you go (AND GO GO GO!) you’ll hopefully know what I mean.  I’ve said before you can’t replicate the Globe but this was of course something else entirely – an addition, an extension, its own piece of work.  This is a truly unique and extraordinary building.  It’s more proscenium-arch-y than I expected and all the bench-like seats in the pit (which is where I will sit in the future) face in to the aisle so you have to turn 90˚ to see the stage (there are seats behind the stage next to the musicians like at the Globe) and the other layers either face or run parallel to the stage.  It’s hard to explain, but it’s not architecturally like anywhere else I’ve been to, even old church halls or buildings on which it is slightly modelled.

The mechanisms are astonishing - the way there are windows is truly fascinating, the chandeliers are an absolute asset that make the lighting here, well, it's not often I rhapsodise about lighting mechanisms so...  It gets very warm, that must be said, but amazingly for all that fire (if there is such a thing as pyrophobia and you are a sufferer this might be somewhere to avoid) it only gets warm and not hot let alone boiling.  The proximity is astounding.  Whilst watching the play (more on that later) you would notice a tiny detail of an actor’s face suddenly as a candle would flicker nearby.  I assume where-ever you are you are so extraordinarily close it feels, as my brother said, like you are almost actually within the action.  I felt there was something almost cinematic about the way teeny details were, thanks to the proximity, magnified – you could focus on a face like a close-up, you could look at the whole stage like a wide shot (which you obviously can elsewhere, but far more intently here).  I can tell you whether or not Gemma Arterton or James Garnon have fillings.  As actors passed me their costumes hit me.  The marks teardrops left in the make-up were highlighted.  I have made prolonged eye-contact with twenty or so new people, which I haven’t when I’ve been in the front row of the Donmar or the Young Vic or other intimate buildings.  It was like nothing else.  So as a space for theatre, especially intense tragedy, it is brilliant.

But mainly, as a piece of architecture, it is a piece of art.  The wood is beautiful, it is new, it is astounding.  The painting, the details like that, are like the Globe but even more beautiful.  Though this is an opinion I know others vehemently disagree with, the Globe always was one of my favourite theatres – I feel that the mindset I am in upon sitting down in the Apollo or the National or the Royal Shakespeare Theatre or the Jermyn Street theatre is always roughly the same detachment from reality and focus on and belief in the theatrics, whilst the mindset I am in upon entering the Globe is almost like getting into a character and that amplifies and changes the play I watch, whatever that may be.  And I felt that upon sitting down here.  If this is an extension of the Globe, it makes the Globe even more wonderful in my eyes.  It is a thing of art.  Wow.

#288978 In The Next Room Or The Vibrator Play - St James

Posted Nicholas on 09 January 2014 - 06:09 PM

View PostPharaoh, on 04 January 2014 - 12:45 PM, said:

I knew about Frances Ashman - who is excellent - but Stephanie Cole is making me look forward to this even more!

Now I'm going, if only because by seeing Stephanie Cole I'll be able to tick off my Cabin Pressure main cast checklist.

#288197 Bad Behaviour At A Show

Posted Nicholas on 01 January 2014 - 10:51 PM

View PostDuncan, on 01 January 2014 - 10:41 PM, said:

I was at Les Mis the other night when a rather tweedy looking man, who seemed to be accompanying his parents and obviously not enjoying himself, actually got out his phone and made a call right in front of me during the performance!

Will this inconsiderate behaviour ever stop? :P

Haha!  Was going to put the exact same thing myself, damnit!  I can't believe Mark Gatiss wrote a script that condoned that sort of behaviour!  If and when I see Coriolanus I might phone my brother up midway through one of his big speeches and show him what's what...

#288159 Famous People You've Seen In The Audience

Posted Nicholas on 01 January 2014 - 02:51 PM

View PostRyan, on 01 January 2014 - 01:58 PM, said:

Ed Miliband at 'Coriolanus' last night...

Isn’t Coriolanus about a man who struggles with the public side of politics?  I thought he’d want to watch something less close to the bone…

#288158 Coriolanus

Posted Nicholas on 01 January 2014 - 02:49 PM

View PostDavid J, on 31 December 2013 - 01:17 PM, said:

Isn't that also what happened to Lawrence Olivier when he played the role in 1959?

From Wikipedia: “The most famous Coriolanus in history is Laurence Olivier, who first played the part triumphantly at the Old Vic Theatre in 1937 and returned to it to even greater acclaim at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in 1959. In that production, he famously performed Coriolanus's death scene by dropping backwards from a high platform and being suspended upside-down (without the aid of wires), a death reminiscent of Mussolini's.”

http://hollowcrownfa...in-a-death-leap - a rather fascinating picture.

And if we’re talking about theatrical hangings, Matt Smith in American Psycho in those tight underwear seemed pretty well hung.

#287855 My Favourite Things In 2013

Posted Nicholas on 29 December 2013 - 03:18 AM

View PostMrs Lovett, on 29 December 2013 - 12:30 AM, said:

I have to thank the moderator that banned me thou coz the street cred I have got in theatre circles down south has literally got my laid TWICE!! There is something positively arousing about yourself when u have been censored!

Lucky you.  This board’s only got me laid figuratively.

#287735 My Favourite Things In 2013

Posted Nicholas on 26 December 2013 - 01:18 PM

I’ve got a top three, and then it seems churlish to order the rest.  But I can’t narrow it down to a top ten.  One caveat – I’m not including the NT50 show, one of the most extraordinary nights of my life, because, well, it wasn’t quite a play and it wouldn’t quite be fair, now would it?
  • At one, it’s A Doll’s House.  The greatest show I’ve ever seen.  Twice.
  • At two, in any other year number one, Old Times.  That small idea of the swap added so much and means that on top of all the really troubling ideas Pinter raises Rickson adds something about performance and really enhances the confusion.  Still haunting.
  • At joint three, it’s The Scottsboro Boys.  I still can’t articulate how I feel, it’s a mess of contradictions.  But I still think about it happily whistling the songs and unhappily puzzling its ideas.  I’ll never get this out of my head.
  • And As You Like It, because I loved it and fell in love with everyone in it and have also listened to the CD about a hundred times.
And rounding up the top ten(ish), The Amen Corner was an unexpected triumph, Circle Mirror Transformation (sorry Cardinal) felt like spending time with friends, Hymn and especially Cocktail Sticks are amongst Bennett’s best, Julius Caesar was haunting and remarkable, Private Lives I only saw half of as for the other half my head was thrown back in affectionate laughter, Sons Without Fathers found the diamond in the rough of Chekhov’s second worst play and The Tempest I loved.  And sue me, I LOVED American Psycho.

Sadly, though for my money the top shows have been extraordinary (so many omissions!), the worst shows have been BAAAAAAD.  I’ll keep it to a bottom three, as though I’ve seen bad things I’ve only seen three I found offensively bad.
  • Worst, maybe the worst thing I’ve ever seen, American Lulu.  Every aspect of this, from it being missold as a jazz reworking to its awful libretto to wooden performances to staging that looked cheap to a terrible working of the source material, was absolute shite upon shite.  Not walking out of this shows I wouldn't crack under torture.  It’s amazing that my best and worst shows (possibly ever, for both) were on the same stage.
  • Peter and Alice.  Terribly written – nothing but audiobooks of biographies.  For my money the argument was “If you have an asexual pedologist adopt you after your two parents die before you turn eight, then one brother dies in a war whilst another is led to suicide, all before you turn twenty, you might be psychologically scarred.  If a chaste paedophile takes a few photos of you then leaves you’ll be less so” – not that profound, certainly doesn’t need 90 minutes.  AND BORING.
  • A lovely adage – if you throw enough poo at a wall some will stick.  Think of The Master and Margarita – a mishmash of styles and ideas, of anachronisms and recreations, of old and new, and how extraordinary that was – the best show of 2012, confirmed with hindsight.  Alternatively, you’ll be left with a steaming pile of poo.  Think of Edward II.
Merry Christmas, and for my money 2013 was pretty good year.  So here’s hoping for 2014!

#287342 Harry Potter Stage Play

Posted Nicholas on 20 December 2013 - 01:39 AM

Oh bloody hell.  It’s Harry Potter: The Annie Years.  Or, more precisely, Harry Potter: The Boring Years.  I can predict exactly what it’ll be.  Scene: PE lesson.  Captains choose team.  Harry’s left until the end.  “No-one chooses you, Harry, you’re never the chosen one,” someone shouts.  Knowing look to audience.  Cut to Christmas.  They play “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day”.  “Who’s this song by, Harry?  It’s the sort of thing you know.”  “Wizzard.”  Knowing look to audience.  Interval.  Cut to generic scenes of bullying.  Suddenly something inexplicable (and well staged) happens.  “That was like magic!”  Knowing look to audience.  Cut to “You’re a wizard Harry.  You’ve got a long and exciting life ahead of you, full of magic, wonder, the uncanny and adventure upon adventure.  All that down to the circumstance of your birth and nothing to do with your upbringing.  But gee whizz, it sure was fun watching how you were bullied as a child.  Now the real story begins.”  Curtain.

I love Harry Potter, genuinely absolutely love, and would happily see a stage version.  This, however, seems like the least interesting point of anyone’s life in the story.  As Harry’s wizardry doesn’t come from his upbringing but his genetics it can’t set up his story and thus it’s just a tale we’ve all seen a hundred times already of bullied boy eventually comes up good.  This whole idea’s nothing new, of course – there was a Doctor Who play during, I think, the third Doctor’s time, there were adaptations of Dickens before the serialisations were completed and arguably this is just a more populist version of what the RSC are doing with Hilary Mantel.  I reckon Harry Potter the play would be wonderful, if only for the staging, if done right.  But Harry Potter: The Early Years?

Edit: I was just thinking of who could be in it and do it, and idly and idealistically I thought "Complicite would do one hell of a job - think what they'd do with the magic (and McBurney had a small part in the film)!".  But then I thought "But the story's just a kid gets bullied in school before chance takes him elsewhere!"  This part of the story's a footnote, and the half a chapter it occupies in the books is enough before we find the real story of a character's growth, of a great adventure and all that (don't scoff, some of us like it).  I'm not sure a ) why it warrants two and a half hours of being staged and b ) what it'll add to the Harry Potter mythology.  But I look forwards to either being corrected or at least reminded that prejudgement is a cardinal sin.  We've got over a year, anyway, to see how this all develops.