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Member Since 11 Apr 2010
Offline Last Active Today, 09:47 AM

#301227 The Silver Tassie- National Theatre

Posted Nicholas on Today, 01:47 AM

View PostMrs Lovett, on 18 April 2014 - 09:00 PM, said:

Il be the confussed looking one on row D slagging everyone off for being white and middle class

I'll be the one surrounded by my white middle class family.  I might as well be invisible at the National.  I'm sure I'll meet you one day, though - I was almost tempted to go see Henry V again just for the Mrs Lovett experience.

View PostLatecomer, on 18 April 2014 - 09:54 PM, said:

I have more or less ditched my family in favour of WOSers....my children know where my loyalties lie.....

Well, my family paid for this, and it is a birthday, so this time it might be rude, but next time...  The sad thing is sometimes I actually find myself quoting WOSsers in general conversation as if I actually know you guys, i.e. (awfully, I probably did say this) "Did you notice Electra's being directed by Ian Rickson?  I actually know someone who went to Mojo and found themselves sat next to him and ended up chatting about his productions with him!  Imagine that!"  Then I try to change the subject, simply because if someone asked "Who was that?" I'd have to answer "A woman from the internet who I think looks an awful lot like Chiwetel Ejiofer"...

#296651 Blithe Spirit, Gielgud Theatre

Posted Parsley on 14 March 2014 - 04:23 PM

Barely made it to the interval for this on Wednesday night

Firstly PLENTY of empty seats in all levels

Secondly worst kind of audience


Thirdly Angela Lansbury should not be on stage

She is barely audible, her voice a thin wavering noise

I might be wrong but she sounded miked to me

If this is correct

What's the point?

The Penelope Keith version at the Savoy was far superior

The direction is leaden at best

The projected scene inter titles fall flat

And the ugliest set I have seen for any Coward play

I have seen ovations "just for coming onstage" for:

Julie Walters in acorn antiques
Madonna in up for grabs

And their acting was a damn site better than Angela Lansbury managed

It was embarrassing to sit through

#295871 Blithe Spirit, Gielgud Theatre

Posted Honoured Guest on 09 March 2014 - 12:49 PM

View Postsam22, on 09 March 2014 - 12:00 PM, said:

Why are the prices cheaper on press night? There are loads of seats left. Is this usual? Or are prices low because it isn't selling. I thought this would be a sell out but loads of free seats, even for final show

Deep in the South Pacific, there rises from the waves a remote island of 6,000 inhabitants who revere the Murder, She Wrote television series as their sacred text and who worship Dame Angela as their supreme holy being. A fleet of delegates from this island is, at this very moment, canoeing across the globe towards the Thames estuary. When they arrive, they will fill the Gielgud Theatre for nights on end. However, there is a slight risk that they may then cook and eat Dame Angela.

#292385 Help Me Identify This Royal Court Play

Posted Honoured Guest on 11 February 2014 - 12:05 AM

View Postxanderl, on 10 February 2014 - 11:06 PM, said:

Three unconnected scenes,
"Unconnected?" You fail!

#293008 Skylight

Posted theatremonkey.com on 15 February 2014 - 09:20 AM

There's some well-priced restricted view front upper circle, IMHO. Aisle seats in B, C or D should be fairly comfy if under 5ft 8, AND if you don't mind missing the side corners of the stage. I quite like the balcony there too, but restricted view front uppers are closer at the same price.

Personally, I splashed out a bit on second price row Q stalls. More comfy than same price upper circle (unlimited legroom). I don't mind possibly missing the top of the set, and I saw "The Weir" from the same seat, so I know isn't too far back to be drawn in (I used my opera glasses only twice). The row in front is top price, as Q sometimes is too, so it can't be all bad.

Extra bonus is Q8 only has a wall behind it, so no seat kickers - and nobody next to you on one side. True, the exit door lets a bit of noise / draught, but you are also first out if you want to be :D

#284960 From Morning To Midnight @ National

Posted jean_hunt on 26 November 2013 - 11:54 PM

View PostHonoured Guest, on 26 November 2013 - 11:20 PM, said:

Mmm, clearly not your thing, and maybe you did completely misunderstand it ...

I'm not sure Mr Chandler is so very wide of the mark, actually. I went to see this last night and I hated it, too.

Someone escaped about halfway through the first act, to a very envious glance from the bloke seated next to me who had given up sighing with boredom and started reading his programme instead. Said bloke swapped seats with his wife at the interval and she proceeded to sleep through much of the second half. I'd say about 6 people in the row ahead of me didn't come back after the interval, though glancing round the auditorium I was surprised just how many of us had returned for more torture...

To be honest, I knew about 30 seconds after curtain up this just wasn't for me. What I can't understand is why it would be for anyone. Would be genuinely interested to hear from someone who loved it and could explain why.

#285649 Henry V

Posted Parsley on 04 December 2013 - 12:19 AM

View Postwickedgrin, on 03 December 2013 - 11:24 PM, said:

Parsley awful left at the interval

Charles Spencer telegraph thrilling production.  

I have lost count of the number of times I have come out of a dull production that has had raves from the critics. So probably with parsley on this. I will give it a miss.

Very flattering.



I realise that often my reviews are quite brief and to the point.

But I have little time for rubbish and "average" productions just don't cut the mustard.

Charles Spencer is thrilled by anything and I learned long ago to ignore what the critics think.

This is not to say that I am not interested to see how their opinion matches up or compares to mine. But I never make any decisions based on them.

If you ever see a critic at the theatre, it is almost quite embarrassing.
Garments one wouldn't be seen dead in and the unenviable job of then writing a review about a show that most people who read it will never see and deluding themselves anyone really cares about their opinion.

Certainly I see almost everything in the WE and all the important UK venues because for me, mine is the only real opinion that counts at the end of the day.

Sharing that with the WOS posters is just a lovely extra bonus!!

#285354 Henry V

Posted Parsley on 30 November 2013 - 09:33 PM


Left at the interval

Have had more excitement sitting on the toilet

Truly cack handed direction

Cast shouting and rushing their lines

Lack of any sort of modulation and poor casting of roles

Static scene after another

A really and truly disappointing end to a weak season in the WE

I would suggest to Grandage he takes a LONG break from directing anything (particularly Shakespeare) and also to try a different set designer in the future

This project has failed in all the ways that the Donmar WE season triumphed in

Jude Law makes almost no impact in the title role

Spent most of the time I was there thinking how big his bald area is

#272809 Circle Mirror Transformation

Posted Cardinal Pirelli on 19 July 2013 - 09:48 PM

I thought this was very well done, very well performed and so on.

There’s a big ‘but’ coming so tune out if you want to.

Anyway, I saw this some days ago and, at the time, found it to be a very pleasant evening and found all, and particularly Shannon Tarbet’s performance, to be really effective.

I’ve been on my travels since then and back up north in particular and that feeling has been replaced with something more frustrated and less positive. Now, I’m from a typical northern working class background so my continuing concern at the Royal Court’s middle class oriented programming is, as a result, perhaps unsurprising. Play after play has been brilliantly targeted to appeal to that audience but often not to anything much wider. Maybe the new regime will change that. The ones that I’ve enjoyed the most recently have been the most caustic satire of that audience, In the Republic of Happiness, which seemed to annoy others instead and Jerusalem, which broke out of that world.

Anyway, Shuttleworth’s FT review and bits of Billington’s mention this and I think they have a point, with this being the Royal Court giving it extra salience. As a piece of writing and direction CMT uses tried and trusted ways of creating audience identification, playing on emotions, withholding information to help create interest and empathy and so on. So I did that and felt that but, by the end of the play, there was no end product to this, it was emotion built only on other's emotions.  I’m not talking about the action being unresolved, that’s great, I like to see that but I felt sorry/happy, and here I sound like Billington, but the social context wasn’t there, these were people in a vacuum.

In the best of the Court’s realistic dramas there has always been that social background, so that you can place them into, and measure yourself, against them. Something like ‘Love, Love, Love’ did that with its (sometimes too coincidental) placing of the characters against the late 20th early 21st century. Instead, and I suppose this is where my real frustration comes in, we are in an inward looking (Billington's term) frame where we only feel for them/ourselves.

I’d like to see more of the writer’s work, something not set against the metatheatrical world that we saw. I’ve done those classes, done those exercises, been there etc. and, of course, it appeals to critics/audiences who see their background validated. If you are involved in theatre, there’s nothing better than to be reminded that we make a difference!

So, moving forwards, on my travels I also saw ‘Adam Curtis vs Massive Attack’ In Manchester, which was good although an uneasy hybrid of film/gig. In it Curtis, in his usual way, picked out a societal problem and then weaved it into a dizzying global web of connections. In this particular show his main thesis, in an investigative manner more in tune with what the Court has done historically, was that we have been led to no longer want to change the world, just manage it. This shift has led us onto a focus on the self, rather than society, which has resulted in physical/mental self improvement for narcissistic ends rather than as a means of creating progress. Cue CMT and narcissistic characters that appear to exist in that sort of vacuum.

So, in mulling over my recent theatregoing as I travelled around, the one has rubbed up against the other and not to CMT’s advantage. This is where the peril of theatrical realism comes in, I was made to feel and I did feel, but it was manipulative.  I’m not asking for overt messages, and I did enjoy it at the time, but these characters left no lasting impression; what I was left with was thinking - great acting......

#272623 Paul Bhattacharjee RIP

Posted TimW on 17 July 2013 - 10:00 PM

Really sad to hear about Paul Bhattacharjee's death.
I first saw him starring with Meera Syall in a play called Blood by Harwant S. Baines almost 25 years ago. It was the first play I ever saw at the Royal Court Upstairs.
He made a greater impression on me less that a year later in Howard Brenton and Tariq Ali response to the Satanic Verses affair, Iranian Nights.
Over the years I have seen him in almost 20 different productions. I was always happy to see him in the cast list and more than once he was one of the reasons for my going to a play.

#267072 Passion Play

Posted dude-1981 on 30 May 2013 - 08:59 PM

View PostNicholas, on 12 May 2013 - 12:34 AM, said:

Can I just take a moment to criticise Quentin Letts' review of this?  Given what I've written about Ms Scholey it might seem hypocritical but a.) it was in jest and goodness knows I was overemphasising and b.) I'm not paid to encourage people whether to see a work of theatre or not based on its artistic merit.  I remember, when Mr Letts reviewed Richard II, thinking his comment of (and I quote) "Maybe Mr Redmayne is simply too good looking to play a character this problematic" showed a slightly troubled outlook on theatre, especially next to Billington's measured treatment of Redmayne's (in my opinion haunting and tender despite being good-looking) performance.  What in God's name does that even mean?  All problematic people are ugly?  Redmayne can only play unproblematic characters?  Whishaw's BAFTA-nominated Richard II works because (not true) Whishaw's ugly?

But that's by the bye now.  Mr Letts' treatment of Passion Play is fine.  It's his treatment of Scholey that's troubling.  Characters' attractiveness can be important in plays - Uncle Vanya needs a more attractive Yelena than Sasha, and here the character ought to be attractive for her siren-esque allure to work - but I think how an attractive actor/actress plays the part is more important than what their curves are like in complementing a production.  PHWOAR stars?  I bet Mr Letts was chuffed when he thought of that one.   His closing line - "Miss Scholey may provoke reactions from a lower part of the anatomy" - seems, to say the least, a reductionist approach to Nichols' writing, Leveaux's direction, the cast's performances and Ms Scholey's performance which includes things such as learning lines, reciting lines, imbuing personality to a fictitious person and interacting with others doing the same thing.   I think the reason I find it troubling is I said it on an internet message board with tongue firmly in cheek and knowing that no-one was going to read what I said as an authority.  Mr Letts...

Well, a theatre critic's job is surely to say more than "And she was attractive and when she dropped her clothes OH MAMA!"  In dealing with a character of more depth that would be completely silly - imagine saying "Meryl Streep was fine as Thatcher but in that scene with a low cut top blimey Charlie!" - and it seems a tad offensive to Ms Scholey the actress to say the best thing about her was Ms Scholey the possessor of attractive anatomy.  The reason it’s bad is really that from Mr Letts I have no idea whether Ms Scholey’s a good actress or not, just that she’s attractive, and I want more in an artistic critique.

To return to the Vanya comparison I made earlier, last year Yelena was played by Laura Pulver, who proved in Sherlock how she could turn heads, who struck me as a woman liable to crack under her justified sadness, and by Anna Friel, who is attractive but seemed more stilted (an opinion on which others differed, I know).  Yelena's very difficult because she can seem (well, she is) self-pitying and when her problem is "I'm too attractive, three men have fallen for me and I married the old one" whilst Sonya's is "I'm in hopeless love and will work until I die" being sympathetic can be hard, but Pulver made me understand her more where Friel didn't.  The reason Scholey is attractive in this is partly the body and partly the disrobing but she also has a smoulder and makes you believe she would instigate this unbelievable affair and brings charisma.  Disrobing maketh not the actress, and to base the entire criticism of the performance on whether he gave seated mid-performance standing ovations or not seems crude, reductionist and bad writing.

That was more than a moment.  Rant over.  I know Letts quoted this board once, so who knows, perhaps I'll be in an article of his.

You had me at "Can I just take a moment to criticise Quentin Letts"

#247960 Julius Caesar - Another Bladder Buster?

Posted Epicoene on 06 December 2012 - 11:03 AM

View Postjaqs, on 05 December 2012 - 08:18 PM, said:

Upstairs is as normal.

So, terrible then, with reduced depth seats and bolt upright backrests and people with standing tickets shuffling around behind you.

#247118 Constellations

Posted Latecomer on 29 November 2012 - 05:47 PM

View Postzyx123, on 29 November 2012 - 02:04 PM, said:

Haven't seen the play. But isn't multiverse theory just an interpretation of quantum mechanics.

Couldn't have put it better myself  B)

#246039 Richard III & Twelfth Night (Rylance & Fry)

Posted Epicoene on 20 November 2012 - 11:24 AM

View PostHonoured Guest, on 20 November 2012 - 10:52 AM, said:

Don't forget his criminal record.

Harsh. I thought Kate Bush's "50 Words For Snow" was quite good despite his participation.

#243793 Nt - Now Can Only Book 2 12 Tickets Per Production

Posted Honoured Guest on 04 November 2012 - 08:26 PM

The Bush now charges £19.50 standard, with an offer to see 3 shows for the price of 2 (so £13 each) when booked at the same time before 1 December.