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Member Since 19 Feb 2007
Offline Last Active Apr 09 2014 10:03 PM

#299515 Trafalgar To Be Transformed Again

Posted xanderl on 06 April 2014 - 04:55 PM

Yes, they're doing the three Henry VI plays and Richard III. This was buried in Tony Hall's pitch for keeping the license fee announcement of increased arts commitment from the BBC

#298223 A Taste Of Honey

Posted mallardo on 27 March 2014 - 07:07 AM

I didn't know much about A Taste of Honey, apart from the fact that it was a movie. That it was written in a few weeks by a novice 18 year old girl seems staggering.  Jeanette Winterson's heartfelt programme essay on Shelagh Delaney makes much of the temporal links with John Osborne but this is a much better play than Look Back in Anger which, to me, seems the work of a writer trying desperately to learn his craft.  A Taste of Honey is not that, it's a finished work and a beautiful one.

I saw and admired Kate O'Flynn in Port but here, as Jo, a much better role in a much better play, she is just astonishing. I don't know when I have been so affected by the shear perfection of a performance. Lesley Sharpe, as Helen, took some getting used to.  I thought she was too big and mannered at the start but as things progressed the canniness of her interpretation became evident and she won me over.  

Harry Hepple was pitch perfect as Geoffrey - his chemistry with O'Flynn overflowed the stage.  And, as Steveatplays noted, Eric Kofi Abrefa brought to the sailor, Jimmie, a dream-like quality that was exactly right.  Dean Lennox Kelly, as Peter, gave us the most convincing drunk scene in recent memory.

I don't get the qualms about Hildegard Bechtler's wonderful set.  I loved seeing the streets outside the room and I loved the way Bijan Sheibani contrived to use them for the musical entrances of the two men in Jo's life.  Surely it's better to play the squalid little flat to scale rather than opting for the gigantism of, say, Juno and the Paycock, where the whole neighbourhood could have bunked down in that room.

The dance interludes and the music were, I presume, directorial touches and excellent ones, setting the tone just where it should be.  And it's the tone that this production gets so right.  At one point in the second act Geoffrey looks at Jo's sketches and declares them "sentimental".  It may be true or it may be his art school posturing but there's nothing sentimental or contrived about the play or this mounting of it.  Bravos all around.

#296447 Trafalgar To Be Transformed Again

Posted Latecomer on 12 March 2014 - 06:46 PM

I am happy about this. I hope he carries on with the Monday ticket thing. His season was far better than the Grandage one.....

#295987 National Theatre Increases Membership Prices By 25%

Posted theatrepaul on 10 March 2014 - 11:27 AM

It would be easier to stomach such a hefty hike in membership costs if there was an improvement in the benefits that come with it but as far as I can see nothing changes apart from the price, on top of which is the Increase in ticket prices.

I get that money is tighter for arts organisations but it's tough for us too.

Oh & now the Donmar has followed suit. I suspect a good many members are members of both so that's an even bigger price hike.

At a push, I'll probably cave in eventually & renew with the NT but that's simply because unless I do, the best tickets won't be available when I book which will mean it ends up costing me even more. That's not a justification for this price hike though which I think is completely out of order.

#296056 King Lear - Nt

Posted Lynette on 10 March 2014 - 04:05 PM

Would be lovely to be around in twenty years' time when SRB does it again. Here's hoping.

#296053 Donmar Membership Scheme

Posted Lynette on 10 March 2014 - 03:59 PM

HG I appreciate your analysis but don't buy it.

Funnily enough I was only thinking on Saturday night round about the middle of Act One of Versailles that perhaps I could place my dosh better than with the Donmar. I am one of the few who was not impressed with Coliolanus ( God help us if he wins the Olivier award with that performance) and Versailles is awful. Of course I want benefits for the donation. Altruistic as I am and give generously to charity as I do, the deal when you give extra to a theatre generally is that you get priority booking, maybe a programme , maybe a special room away from the hoi polloi for your drinkies (as at the National) and those invitations to dinners, events and so on you can't go to because they are all at a silly time like 6pm......but the only one of which I DO want is priority booking for the best seats. I can do well without any of the rest. The  Donmar has taken away this benefit from me as I now book in advance but don't get the best seats even if I phone on the very first day of my priority status, so what is the point of me continuing to give them extra money? You say, to support the Donmar. But I have to share out my pennies and maybe other places need them more and offer me better shows and better seats. The logic is muddled I admit because more money might mean better shows but there you are...

#295893 Blithe Spirit, Gielgud Theatre

Posted xanderl on 09 March 2014 - 05:57 PM

I think the fact that the price of most of the stalls seats is a higher figure than Dame Angela's impressive age might be putting some people off!

#292594 Coriolanus

Posted xanderl on 12 February 2014 - 10:40 AM

Given average life expectancy when Lear was written was about 40, presumably a "very old" man would be a lot younger than today. So SRB is probably too young.

#292423 Coriolanus

Posted jacquix on 11 February 2014 - 12:49 PM

peggs, that struck me too – SRB is 'learned, talkative, delightful' and TH simply 'hearththrob'. How insulting to TH's talent, training and commitment. He can't help it if he's (slightly fatuously) being compared with someone who is older, arguably less attractive and with less of a young female fanbase.

To be honest, though, I do wonder if SRB is a little young for Lear. But I haven't seen his performance (fingers crossed for tickets when public booking opens on Fri!) so can't voice an informed opinion yet.

#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.

#290349 Coriolanus

Posted Latecomer on 23 January 2014 - 08:53 PM

Splendid evening's entertainment! Very strange with the seats...70% of the stage facing left hand side stalls were empty approaching starting time....in the end, after much communication via headsets by the stage managers most of the people with standing tickets were moved down to these seats! They were very pleased! Most odd.

I just love what the Donmar has done with Shakespeare since JR.....Julius Caesar and now this! Oh and the fight was brilliant, I have to get myself a sword sometime.....

#289784 The Duchess Of Malfi (Gemma Arterton)

Posted Latecomer on 18 January 2014 - 10:17 AM

View PostDrP, on 18 January 2014 - 10:11 AM, said:

Can't really add to the reviews above, it's a beautiful if uncomfortable space and like nothing I've seen before.

It's a shame the over-officious stewards have come inside. Some are lovely but one clearly ruined the woman in front of me's evening before it even started. Before the show had started (at least 10 mins before, with people still coming in to the theatre etc) she took her phone out to look at the screen (not make a call, not making a noise, just presumably checking the sound was off) and a steward yelled at her across several rows. The woman looked aghast and said she was just turning it off, and the steward responded with 'IT DOESN'T MATTER, IT MUST BE DARK IN HERE, THERE ARE SIGNS'. The lady was clearly mortified.

I understand they're volunteers and are told they must be strict, but this shouldn't be in the face of spoiling somebody's experience. Surely a polite word would have done the job if she'd continued to use the phone. How much training do they get?

Saying that, another chap was very polite to me and clearly very enthusiastic about the place, so maybe it's only a few of them!

I think I know that woman....she told me off at Globe for looking at phone 20mins before the performance started and was quite unpleasant! Then she sort of wriggled into the place I had right at the front of the stage and slowly but surely edged us out of the way!!! Couldn't believe a steward would be so rude! Taking the place us groundlings had queued for! I think it is ok 5 mins before to mention phones but not that long before!

#289292 Medea- Nt

Posted Boob on 12 January 2014 - 05:07 PM

Yes. Dilapidated 30s (is it 40s) mansion. Medea will wear Kate Duchene's dress from Iphegenia at Aulis. Creon will wear a suit. The chorus of women will do a slow waltz while she's killing the children. The roof will start leaking at the end.

#286829 The El. Train

Posted Latecomer on 14 December 2013 - 08:31 PM

Loved this!
Doors to venue opened at 2pm, small queue of about 6 people outside in the fresh air. Staff inside thought we were a bit odd queuing outside the room right from then...kept repeatedly asking us if we wanted to move to the bar and have a drink. We all (about 6 of us) politely declined numerous times. In the end they gave up and started to sell us programmes instead! Then THEY OPENED THE MIDDLE DOOR NOT THE FRONT DOOR WE HAD PATIENTLY BEEN WAITING AT.  A few rebels decided just to open the front doors at this point and one of the staff followed them in the shout at them....Goodness, the drama. Despite this (and thanks to fleet-footed daughter, well taught me-thinks) we managed front row seats!

Enjoyed all 3 plays and thought they went together well. I knew Ruth Wilson was not in the last one but enjoyed it just as much....the language in all was just lovely. Conjured up a great feel. Great to be close to the action. Chairs uncomfy...think small wooden chairs.
Great sound and lighting effects....
Balcony very close so would be good option for this.
Went through bar on the way out....had to rush home afterwards...but it looked cosy.

Glad we went.

Oh and with her baby pacifying skills Ruth Wilson would be a great babysitter.....

#286742 Richard 2Nd - With David Tennant

Posted Ryan on 13 December 2013 - 06:12 PM

Saw this last night and enjoyed it although David Tennant's hair was a bit nasty wasn't it.  Loved the great backdrops and the staging was terrific, simple yet really effective.  The two Oliver's stole it for me though.  Oliver Ford-Davies was beyond magnificent and Oliver Rix was brilliant as Aumerle.  Low point of the evening?  Apart from the David Tennant fans who just laughed at everything he said it was Jane Lapotaire's wild overacting as the Duchess of Gloucester.  Made you wish it was her in the coffin at the start instead of her husband... :D