Obviously you are entitled to your view, Snicole, but based on the number of Ayckbourn's plays I've seen, and especially the recent touring productions of "Time Of Your Life" (a revival) and "Arrivals And Departures" (new), I don't agree that "He's basically a feature length soap writer." There has always been real darkness there, for those who saw it and/or if the production brought it out, but that element has increased and become more obvious with time. It was particularly evident in the two plays above; indeed, the latter reduced me almost to tears towards the end and I don't cry at films or plays.
Hysterical overheard conversations between two elderly women at yesterdays Tuesday matinee.
Woman 1 "do you think the ceiling is going to fall in"
Women 2 " it would be more exciting than the show wouldn't it"
Woman 1 "I'm glad Gladys didn't come she would not have liked the swearing"
Woman 1 "There's nothing scandalous about it now is there...."
Woman 2 "Ooooh no, I bet it's all going on today, it's just that we don't know about it, and wont do for another 30 years or whatever, the establishment - they're all still at it"!
Woman 1 "Yes look at that Patrick Rock"
Woman 2 "Who dear?"
Woman 1" Do you think that they (the cast) give their all when they know it's closing in a few weeks?
Woman 2 "Well that Christine Keeler gave it her all (cackles) but I suppose they hope to be picked up for something else - they never know who's watching"
Woman 1 "There are some nice songs aren't there... it's a pity he did not write them for a different show"
Woman 2 " But then it would have been a different show wouldn't it"
I must admit to finding this oddly hollow. It should work and should thrill but it just didn't. There are some good elements, I liked the lighting and the use of the stage and I thought Tom Brooke and Sam Troughton were excellent but I just didn't get swept up in any emotion apart from the one moment where Lear tells the now blinded Gloucester that he remembered him. I thought SRB did that brilliantly but maybe I'm just SRB'ed out but I thought his Lear was just a combination of his most recent roles in 'Hothouse', 'Timon' and 'Collaborators', there was nothing new. The award for most irritating performance though has to go to Anna Maxwell Martin which I think was the most disappointing part of the whole evening. I think she's normally a magnificent actress of great intelligence but I found it to be such a screechy, hysterical performance and SHOUTING every other word for effect did grate after a while. She looked fabulous though as did Kate Fleetwood. All in all it was a bit of a disappointment though.
Is he INCREDIBLE casting though? He's not been exactly hard to see in the WE over the last few years? Does INCREDIBLE come from a forum member or the theatre PR anywhere. If a forum member, it could be the last person to play Javert or the third swing from Mamma Mia...