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Member Since 24 Jan 2009
Offline Last Active Apr 21 2014 06:12 PM

#299996 Birdland - Simon Stephens - Andrew Scott

Posted paplazaroo on 10 April 2014 - 11:08 AM

Yeah I agree with the reviews, didn't have the balls to be as venomous though. Andrew Scott and Simon Stephens groupies will like it anyway

#297724 Last Of The Duty Free

Posted FireFingers on 23 March 2014 - 03:37 PM

That is the single greatest photoshop I have EVER seen.

#293031 Memphis

Posted MrBarnaby on 15 February 2014 - 04:22 PM

Confirmed by who? You?!

#292939 A Taste Of Honey

Posted Boob on 14 February 2014 - 03:42 PM

The most important things for a show of length:

1) excellence
2) sufficient loo breaks

I find if these two principles are in force, I really don't mind how long it is.  I could have sat through Robert Lepage's nearly-nine hour LIPSYNCH twice, back-to-back.  But you couldn't pay me to see THE MISTRESS CONTRACT (90 MINS, no interval) again.

#292763 1984 At The Almeida

Posted jaqs on 13 February 2014 - 12:06 PM

Went to this last night and had trouble staying awake. I wasn't the only one we were an audience of fidgets.

There were flashes of great stuff, but they were flashes of flash and it was hard to stay focused for the first 4ims or so.

It may have been much better in the dearer seats, a lot happens on screen which is not visible due to overhang for cheapskates like me and the monitors were tiny.

Still an almost full house, lots of teenagers, good for a Wednesday. One person left during the torture scenes.

#291209 The Light Princess

Posted theatrically on 31 January 2014 - 01:10 AM

View Postpaultheatre, on 30 January 2014 - 11:42 PM, said:

Such a shame it has not extended.  It has been a beautiful treat at the National Theatre.

It did extend but just by 1 week until 2/2 - it was originally ending on 26/1

#290566 King Lear - Nt

Posted Lisa S on 25 January 2014 - 11:16 PM


The critics have said explicitly what is new and different in the production and some have had a good old bash. Please do not read this post if you don’t want to see any spoilers, because I will defend some of that criticism in detail. They didn’t hold back in their reviews, so I won’t.

Please don’t read ahead if you don’t want to know some crucial information.

This production divided opinion, no doubt.

I have to say I loved it, despite the many things I didn’t like.

I’ll get my big gripes out of the way first and then get on to what I liked. The critics seemed to like Gloucester, Edmund and Edgar, all of whom I thought brought nothing at all. I never bought into the sub plot. Sam Troughton seems to get good reviews for being Sam Troughton.

I kept thinking, this sub plot will come alive in the next scene and it never did.

I didn’t like all three of them. I think Edmund is supposed to be a Nazi or something. He has a leathery Third Reich look, which is just so over-referenced it was pointless.

I saw a preview, but apparently Edgar’s genitals are now on show? That’s a change because I only saw a flash of backside and I thought they had handled it well not to overdo the nudity. I’m not sure what the genitals would add. He was just holding a cloth up in front of them when I saw it.  

The opening scene I thought didn’t work on two points. The first was that there were too many soldiers on stage. That was very much, ‘we’ve got the budget, let’s show it‘.

I know it helps emphasise the public denouncement of Lear, but even so, it seemed to detract from the main event. Having said that, I was glad there were no TV screens, a heavy-handed touch I’m sick of seeing on stage with public events in modern dress productions.

The other problem is Lear has his back to the audience.

What we gained, I thought, was that we got to see the three girls; they really get delineated - and they have to.

And all three actresses were good. Cornwall and Albany worked, I thought. As did Lear and the Fool. So that’s a quite a good head count for a cast this size.

I liked the touch of having the Fool on stage in this opening scene sat behind Lear, because it connects him to events that make him sad.  

In this first scene, I thought there was a little bit of: ‘We must not have cuddly Simon. No cuddliness.’

He can’t be cuddly, but you can slip the odd joke in at the start first scene. I remember John Wood did. What Russell Beale does get across, though, in the very first scene and ever afterwards is that this is a primal man, who becomes dangerously primal as madness sets in.

And when I say primal, he sits Regan on his knee, kisses her and has a dirty laugh. She gets a smack on the bottom. Later, he carries round a page three with him and rubs his loins. Mendes’ and Russell Beale’s Lear is never out of touch with his primal instincts - and it’s of huge significance as it collides with madness.

This is an elemental play about the relationship between parents and children. And what Mendes and Russell Beale delineate in the first scene comes back with echoes later on.  

From the second scene with Lear, I really thought it hotted up.  The relationship between Russell Beale's King and Scarborough's Fool is exquisite.

You absolutely believe this primal Lear needs this Fool as his foil. Here is this very manly man, who finds a male foil in this melancholy joker, who makes sense of his life for him from a male perspective.

From the storm scene, it’s just Rolls-Royce. I loved the storm scene. I didn’t think the ramp was an overstatement at all. I thought they avoided the cliché of water dripping all over the place, which isn’t necessary.  

And then we got the mock trial scene. Which I loved.

And I cannot understand the criticism levelled at this playing of the scene by Charles Spencer.

Lear, by now, is completely mad. He interprets ‘Poor Tom’s’ misfortunes as attributable to 'Tom's' daughters.

So in the mock trial scene, they’re all sat on the mock 'judicial bench’, looking at the two 'accused’.

First up is the toilet.

Fool: Come hither, mistress. Is your name Goneril?

KING LEAR  She cannot deny it.

The Fool heads off the ‘judicial bench’ and toward the toilet to say:

Fool: Cry you mercy, I took you for a joint-stool.

Lear then looks at the next object. The Fool, being a fool, takes the rise by sitting on it and miming a caricature impersonation of Regan - who is delineated in the first scene as an ostentatious smoker. He sits and mimes her pompous smoking gestures to the audience. If the first object is mistaken for a daughter, so is the second - and it‘s now animated because the Fool is sat on it.

And here's another, whose warp'd looks proclaim
What store her heart is made on. Stop her there!

He grabs a bit of scrap iron and lunges forward. Just as ‘Poor Tom’s’ misfortunes are viewed by Lear only through the prism of madness, so in this madman’s eyes, this object that is Regan, and this person sitting on it impersonating Regan, can only be interpreted as Regan and he picks up the cosh and he bashes the Fool’s skull in:

Arms, arms, sword, fire! Corruption in the place!
False justicer, why hast thou let her 'scape?

When you see the moment, he is emphatically out of control of these primal instincts (and we read about it in the newspapers every day - parents attacking children, mad people attacking other people as if they are a person who has given them grievance).

Lear’s unwitting killing of the Fool is a touch that sits beautifully in a play where so many people are mistaking people for other people.

It echoes exactly the opening scene where he divides the kingdom and can't see what's in front of him, only now he's totally mad.

I found the scene funny, then utterly shocking, and finally just appallingly sad with irony.

Having lost the female foils he held so dearly, how ironic that that should lead to him lose the male foil in his life who gives him so much - and at his own hand.

And when, at the end, the King says of the Fool ‘And my poor fool is hang'd!’, wasn’t it obvious that this Lear was deluding himself about his own earlier brutality when he said that?

There was a huge, guilty pause and a couldn’t-bear-to-face-up-to-what-he’d-done gesture before the word ’hang’d’ came out.

It wasn’t said by Lear with any conviction at all that the Fool had been ‘Hang’d’.

It was said as if to say: ‘Emotionally, this is how I’m dealing with the fact I’ve bashed his brains in.’

His primal instincts - love and hate of his children sitting so close to one another, the sexual undertones when he pulls he Regan on his knee, the rubbings of his balls, the page three he carries around with him in his bag. This is a man who is totally in touch with his primal instincts and having stepped over into madness what a tragedy it is.

In madness, his instincts are primal to the point of being murderous. In modern terms, it would, I suppose, be called murder with diminished responsibility. The curses cried in sanity, spill over into reality in madness.

People did laugh at Oswald’s death but a lot of other infamous laughter points were avoided. Nobody laughed at Lear killing the Fool. Nobody laughed at the eye gouging, which I thought was really well done in the wine cellar with corkscrews. Most of the deaths, in fact, avoided laughter.

The waterboarding just seemed like Luvvieland’s usual token love note to Islamic terrorists. I’ve seen too many waterboarding scenes.

I think it’s important that the first half is very long. It really helps if the eye gouging happens when the audience are focused and not at the start of the second half.

Even with the flaws, I found it a hugely rewarding evening.

#290362 King Lear - Nt

Posted Lynette on 23 January 2014 - 10:58 PM

You'll love this one then- I wanted to send a tube of E45 backstage for him.

#289752 Shakespeares Globe 2014

Posted peggs on 17 January 2014 - 09:50 PM

View Postpaultheatre, on 17 January 2014 - 02:27 AM, said:

Eve Best will be giving her Cleopatra.
really? if that is true it'll be worth seeing .

#289745 Shakespeares Globe 2014

Posted Cirque on 17 January 2014 - 05:26 PM

Well if this is correct it is a massive pull.Eve Best has done magnificent work at this address and by adding Cleopatra will be a superb opportunity to see her in an environment where she is at home.
Antony.......?  Like to see Allam but guess he will take a break after last year's Prospero and recent Falstaff.

This theatre fires on every cylinder.

#285978 FHTE To The Garrick?

Posted Candela on 06 December 2013 - 02:13 AM

Don't forget Loserville!  We all Knew the moment ROA transferred that was it

#284999 Henry V

Posted Boob on 27 November 2013 - 01:15 PM

The French scene was the best thing about the NT Hytner/Lester production IMO.

#284455 Strangers On A Train

Posted popcultureboy on 21 November 2013 - 07:28 AM

That smacks of being sent to them by the show's press people, doesn't it? It's a clever bit of spin, since the set did get the best reviews of all.

#284454 Strangers On A Train

Posted Latecomer on 21 November 2013 - 07:02 AM

View PostParsley, on 20 November 2013 - 10:59 PM, said:

Yet another example of the stupidity of producers bringing unwanted rubbish into the West End.

The reviews really will not help.

I am amused that the BBC thinks the critics are "thrilled"!

#284052 The Threepenny Opera (Olivier, Nt)

Posted coramboy on 17 November 2013 - 02:45 AM

"Before becoming Artistic Director"

Did you already know this 2 months in advance or was it a guess? Paul, I must confess I'm impressed by the way you always get things right!