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RedRoseMember Since 29 Oct 2012
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Posted DrP on 20 February 2014 - 02:38 PM
Posted Cardinal Pirelli on 12 August 2013 - 09:48 PM
It will probably be a pretty physical experience for people to get the most out of the narrative and you have to be on your toes and fit to keep up; following performers is only necessary if you want to have a narrative throughline though (it's also the most emotional way of experiencing it), otherwise you have the fragmentary dreamlike experience you allude to (which is fine). You can play the game differently, wandering around steadily in the space, but that's more for people interested in design.
Crash of the Elysium was a kid's show really, like a nice, not very scary, theme ride (with added Matt Smith), a few things stayed with me but it was really quite simplistic. It Felt Like a Kiss, the collaboration with Adam Curtis in Manchester a few years ago, was stronger but not particularly subtle. Their best linear show, in my opinion, was the most recent, 'The Borough' based on the same poem as Britten's opera 'Peter Grimes', an audio tour with unexpected performances as part of it. The script (by Jack Thorne) had all sorts of different levels which provided that extra richness.
I prefer the ludic/gameplay nature of their biggest shows personally, the more challenging to decode the better (lots more people like that via the above link). It's also a challenge to the FOMO (fear of missing out, that is), as you can't see or get everything; wondering if you should be somewhere else, or where someone else is. You aren't supposed to communicate, use phones etc for that reason. Sadly, I've seen at least one person desperately trying to text someone else because they got split up; theyre just doomed to failure I'm afraid.
Proper spoilers below, so even though this is a spoiler thread don't look if you don't want to know -
It's not just the fool who mouths the words 'we live in a dream', it's echoed in different places and times. In the chapel you probably just missed Dwayne (Drum Major in the outside the gates story) being bathed by the Dust Witch, he has just had a powerful dance through the sand, totally naked, his actions towards Mary appear to have tipped him over the edge and it is this bathing which cleanses him.
The desert set tends to be for the marginalised or the most extreme actions for the characters outside the studio gates, like it's mirror that is the basement these two areas also appear to have the closest link to the voodoo/black magic being summoned. It is here, on the mound, where William kills Mary. The desert scarecrow shrine is where Andy goes after he realises he has failed to save William and he collapses there (his is a great loop for dance, quite breathtakingly physical throughout). Much of this is to do with the allusions to Day of the Locust. Watch out for those scarecrows......
The basement is where the direst deeds of the studio take place. Here resides Mr Stanford (the owner of the voice you heard saying 'We live in a Dream') and those who run the studio. With it's chessboard floor at the centre it has the appearance of a masonic lodge, this is where the cuckolding of Marshall (the studio version of Marie) takes place at a drug fuelled party.
There are a number of scripts throughout the set, it appears that the script being filmed is mirrored in the real lives of Wendy and Marshall, it also is mirrored in that of William and Mary. A character in their space, the Grocer, has a script which appears to predict what will happen, he tries to convince them that they are fated but to no avail.
Which Edinburgh experiences have you done? You Once Said Yes was/is great although What Remains by Grid Iron was sadly undeveloped. I'm off to Edinburgh in a few days and the best new immersive show there is Our Glass House which is in London in November (booking via Camden People's Theatre).
Posted Cardinal Pirelli on 28 June 2013 - 09:20 PM
Posted Nev on 04 February 2014 - 06:43 PM
The lady sits down next to her friend. Two minutes later she comes back to me and says: "You look tall". I just looked at her. She then says "I want my seat back, the guy in front of your seat is really tall". I could hardly believe it! I just took my stuff and moved back to my seat, next to her friend (again).
Her friend then starts chatting away to me like nothing has happened! The guy on her other side had witnessed it all and had a good laugh. To make things better, the man who eventually sat down in front of swap-lady was even taller than the one in front of me. Theatre-kharma at its best!
Posted steveatplays on 05 February 2014 - 07:25 PM
Anger is the glue that holds Simon Russell Beale's Lear together, avoiding the disjointedness you get with many Lears, where you can't believe that Lear's disowning of Cordelia is the behaviour of the same man that you see thereafter. Here his anger at losing his marbles never dissipates, so he always makes sense. Indeed, the demise of the fool is a brilliantly original culmination of this, and a much better solution to the fool's disappearance from the play than simply to have him hanging from a post as a pre-interval shock tactic.
Truly excellent production, good to see Lear done grandly, instead of the intimate shows we've often had in London. Great use of the Olivier stage, which never sucks up and spits away the drama the way it sometimes can (Cherry Orchard, I'm talking about you).
Absolutely wonderful loving knowing fool from Adrian Scarborough, and superb work by Stanley Townshend as an especially virile yet thoroughly charming And compelling Kent. And Anna Maxwell Martin imbues Regan with just the right amount of sadistic curiosity and sexual attention seeking (note the Miley Cyrus tongue curling) that suggests the exact moment a serial killer realises it's fun to kill people.
At the platform afterwards, SRB spoke of how his hand twitch was the result of his research into a specific kind of hallucination ridden dementia, which informs this performance, in a way research has never informed his performances before.
Overall, unforgettably brilliant. 4 and a half stars.
Posted Ryan on 01 January 2014 - 02:41 PM
Posted The Glenbuck Laird on 30 December 2013 - 06:36 PM
Posted steveatplays on 29 December 2013 - 01:50 AM
This is wonderful.
Yes, the horror is mostly gone, most murders abbreviated, and even critical murders are mostly bloodless. Anyone who wants to relive the gory details of the novel will be sorely disappointed.
But the satire is glorious, hilarious, choreographed and corruscating.
The song and dance numbers are the best I've seen this year. It's hard to pick a favourite, but of the new songs, "You are what you wear" is like the most glamorous and caustic new song from Lady Gaga's "Artpop," and "Oh Sri Lanka" is a mini-masterpiece, in which Matt Smith's Bateman sings and dances his faux-concern for the suffering people of the world in one-upmanship and posturing that rivals Monty Python's "Four Yorkshiremen" sketch, who all ate lumps of cold poison for breakfast and worked 29 hours a day down the mill.
Of the golden oldies, co-opted into the musical, Tears for Fears' "Everybody wants to rule the world" aptly sets the scene of Hobbes' war of all against all, and Phil Collin's "In the Air tonight" perfectly captures Bateman's haunting transition away from designer brands towards the world of designer murder.
Indeed, haunting is the key word, for this musical plays like a fever dream, background projections shimmering at the edges, characters apparently copulating with sketches on walls, Bateman talking murder without anyone hearing him, suggesting nothing we see is real but Bateman's darkening interior dream world.
This Bateman is much more sympathetic than the Bateman of the novel or the film. Those Batemans were evil serial-killing unfeeling sociopaths. In the song "Not a common man," Bateman aspires to be like those Batemans, like Bundy or Gein, but he fails. Instead, Matt Smith's Bateman is an more of an everyman who realises that our whole world, and everyone in it (including himself), is worthless and meaningless. And Matt Smith's zombie-in-a-suit appearance and ordinary-bloke-singing-style make him perfect casting to imbue the otherness that allows him to see this below-the-surface existential meaninglessness that the other characters miss.
"If we get married" is a powerful song in this context, this musical's version of Peggy Lee's despairing "Is that all there is?," where Bateman tries to dream of a meaningful life, and realises he can never have one.
The first half critique of consumerism is simultaneously seductive (I have never wanted to taste so many exotic dishes or wanted to try on so many smart suits) and lascerating (the war for the best font on a calling card is hilarious).
The second half meanders a little, the transition from stabbing a rough sleeper in the stomach to being a mourner of all the meaninglessness in the world is somewhat inelegant.
But while this show may not be perfect, it is an incredibly meaningful show, with captivating choreography (perhaps better appreciated from the back of the theatre than the front) set to wonderful songs, both old and new. It is fronted by an actor at the top of his game, with great supporting performances from the likes of Gillian Kirkpatrick, Susannah Fielding, Cassandra Compton, Ben Aldridge and Jonathan Bailey.
This show deserves the West End and Broadway future for which it is obviously intended. 4 stars.
Posted mallardo on 28 December 2013 - 06:53 PM
I thought it was brilliant. They got the concept just right. The set, the clothes, the choreography, Rupert Goold's direction - his natural flamboyance was made for this material - everything works to perfection.
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's book is masterful, not a weak or awkward moment in it. And Duncan Sheik's score is everything it has to be. Recognizably the work of the composer of Spring Awakening yet with just the right techno-rock 80's blend, it absolutely captures the mood and the sound of the piece and, as a result, the outside music from the movie (Huey Lewis, et al) feels seamlessly interpolated. Bravo to Mr. Sheik. I'm buying the cast recording as soon as it appears.
If I have a slight reservation it's about Matt Smith's Patrick Bateman. His singing I could overlook but, to me, he lacks the presence and charisma that made Christian Bale so compelling in the movie. Unfair, perhaps. But I kept wondering what it would have been like if, say, Ben Aldridge, who played Bateman's antagonist, Paul Owen, had been given the role.
No matter. When it was over I wanted to see it again.
Posted Ryan on 23 December 2013 - 05:06 PM
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 Steffi on 03 December 2013 - 09:54 AM
Posted craftymiss on 02 December 2013 - 01:27 AM
Posted popcultureboy on 26 November 2013 - 07:29 AM
Or you may have been eating yours. I really rate Jude Law as a stage actor, more so than as a film actor, but his accent in Anna Christie was just so terrible, I couldn't get past it. I said at the time that I wouldn't be surprised to find out they added the line "you're Irish, I can tell" to it, just so the audience knew where the hell he was supposed to be from.
Posted armadillo on 26 November 2013 - 07:22 AM
I've noticed with unease that a discussion elsewhere in this section about a production new to London already seems to have turned into a debate amongst a few about one cast member in particular - what about the rest, the play itself, the direction, etc? - and that another (American Psycho) seems to be heading that way even before it has opened, to the extent that I'm now wondering if I would find the experience so distorted by fan fever that I'd be better off cancelling.
Of course people are free to go, or not to go, to the theatre for any reason(s) and to say what they like here as long as they do so politely and with respect for others' views, so maybe this is another case where I'm in a minority, or even alone in my view, but does anyone else feel that the focus on billing is skewing discussion and attendance?
Gosh. I am chastened - at least half my theatre going (and I see about 60 shows a year) is because of the cast list. How you must despise me. Why exactly is it OK to be a fan of a particular director or venue but not of a particular actor?