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Member Since 24 Sep 2012
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Happy Days - Sans Fonz, Sans Songs

26 January 2014 - 01:23 AM

If you want to discuss the Fonz, homosexuality or internet ethics, there’s somewhere else for you to do that.

After a long long day and missing the Blurred Lines matinee after FGW effed everything up, I nabbed a ticket for this.  Pre-emptively, I’m going to give this four stars.

There’s a lot of nice stuff.  Firstly, in the interval and afterwards this sentence came up several times: “She’s trapped and he’s distant, it reminds me of [insert couple here]”.  For a play that’s so strange it’s amazing it felt that universal and relatable.  Secondly, the set is so so impressive, will be much talked about – obviously does the job of a sandy beach but in and of itself it’s a construction to wonder.  Thirdly, mostly, the performances – David Beames striking as Willie and Juliette Stevenson doing some rather impressive things.  She raises that voice to make Winnie more innocent and thus the moments her voice raises to more girly or lowers to dark tones makes the text, at that moment, stand out.  She does a very very good job of presenting the forced hope of the text but, in her facial desperation, shows the need Winnie has to believe it.  My caveat is this – when Mark Rylance took on Hamm he seemed to use every sinew of his waist up, almost like if he could jump off his legs he would.  When it’s just Stevenson’s head she does that, strikingly mobile head, and if she’d done that with arms and torso it’d be a more exciting and coherent performance (small and subjective caveat).

After the enema for the soul that was Lisa Dwan’s trilogy this wasn’t the same – typically, Beckettian, haunting, dark, piercing, but not quite as much or as unique.  Happy Days is a great play and it came across here – the idea of hope is profoundly challenged in even just a few sentences due to the intonation – but it’s not my favourite Beckett production, even of the year.  If you can only see one see the Dwan (in fact, see this as a matinee and Dwan in the evening and make the (contrived but not wholly unfeasible) assumption that Not I is the sequel to Happy Days) but if you can see two, do.

Also, three observations (and one serious point).  A family near me had a child who must have been barely 10.  There’s nothing linguistically or visually unsuitable but it’s a complicated play and I wondered what the child would have taken from it.  Secondly, in lieu of the ability to bow I like what they do.  Thirdly, in the interval, with no curtain and the stage needing resetting, they set up a tent like archaeologists do around Stevenson and wow it’s exciting.

Now, here’s my serious point.  The Young Vic really ought to warn of the volume of bangs in their shows.  I’ve said a fair bit on the terrible aspects of American Lulu, but one moment that stands out is this.  It had some of the loudest gunshots I’ve ever heard and there was no warning, or if there was it wasn’t noticeable and didn’t make clear the sheer volume.  There was an elderly gentleman next to me who had to cover his ears with his entire hands and jumped very high and looked like he was in active pain.  Artistically I could rage about its missteps but that really left a bad impression.  Here there are some very loud and unexpected screams that had me, who doesn’t normally mind loud noises, jumping.  No warning.  People clearly reacted to it.  I know that legally you have to warn about smoking and nudity and all that but I do think they ought to warn (not just the Young Vic, though my two examples are there, but anywhere applicable) when it’s that loud.  Thoughts?

Blurred Lines

12 November 2013 - 01:06 AM

I can't tell if this play is a very good or very bad idea.  I'm leaning towards very bad but hey, no-one wants to hear me ramble on as to why and prejudging is a cardinal sin.  Anyone want to discuss this?

Add A Word, Ruin A Play

15 October 2013 - 01:39 AM

Forgive me for being immature, but there's something someone showed me on Twitter trending called Add a Word, Ruin a Movie, which is pretty self explanatory and has thrown up some fantastic examples like Friends with Disability Benefits and Pillow Fight Club, and because I'm an incredibly sad person I've been doing the same with plays all day.  It's quite fun, so I thought I'd put this up here for anyone else with time to kill.
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