Mr Barnaby I was the critic from WOS, I assure you I'm not 'village Hall' I am somebody who works in the industry as a director, writer and producer and have won awards and nominations for my work, and i also write for a few theatre sites.
I will ALWAYS give my 100 percent honest opinion on all aspects of a show and thought DRS was outstanding, I was lucky enough to see the Broadway Production as well and thought this matched it all the way (in fact I think set and costumes were far better).
I really hope this finds an audience in London as it really deserves it. I hope all of you that get to see the show have as much fun as I did.
I’ve got a top three, and then it seems churlish to order the rest. But I can’t narrow it down to a top ten. One caveat – I’m not including the NT50 show, one of the most extraordinary nights of my life, because, well, it wasn’t quite a play and it wouldn’t quite be fair, now would it?
At one, it’s A Doll’s House. The greatest show I’ve ever seen. Twice.
At two, in any other year number one, Old Times. That small idea of the swap added so much and means that on top of all the really troubling ideas Pinter raises Rickson adds something about performance and really enhances the confusion. Still haunting.
At joint three, it’s The Scottsboro Boys. I still can’t articulate how I feel, it’s a mess of contradictions. But I still think about it happily whistling the songs and unhappily puzzling its ideas. I’ll never get this out of my head.
And As You Like It, because I loved it and fell in love with everyone in it and have also listened to the CD about a hundred times.
And rounding up the top ten(ish), The Amen Corner was an unexpected triumph, Circle Mirror Transformation (sorry Cardinal) felt like spending time with friends, Hymn and especially Cocktail Sticks are amongst Bennett’s best, Julius Caesar was haunting and remarkable, Private Lives I only saw half of as for the other half my head was thrown back in affectionate laughter, Sons Without Fathers found the diamond in the rough of Chekhov’s second worst play and The Tempest I loved. And sue me, I LOVED American Psycho.
Sadly, though for my money the top shows have been extraordinary (so many omissions!), the worst shows have been BAAAAAAD. I’ll keep it to a bottom three, as though I’ve seen bad things I’ve only seen three I found offensively bad.
Worst, maybe the worst thing I’ve ever seen, American Lulu. Every aspect of this, from it being missold as a jazz reworking to its awful libretto to wooden performances to staging that looked cheap to a terrible working of the source material, was absolute shite upon shite. Not walking out of this shows I wouldn't crack under torture. It’s amazing that my best and worst shows (possibly ever, for both) were on the same stage.
Peter and Alice. Terribly written – nothing but audiobooks of biographies. For my money the argument was “If you have an asexual pedologist adopt you after your two parents die before you turn eight, then one brother dies in a war whilst another is led to suicide, all before you turn twenty, you might be psychologically scarred. If a chaste paedophile takes a few photos of you then leaves you’ll be less so” – not that profound, certainly doesn’t need 90 minutes. AND BORING.
A lovely adage – if you throw enough poo at a wall some will stick. Think of The Master and Margarita – a mishmash of styles and ideas, of anachronisms and recreations, of old and new, and how extraordinary that was – the best show of 2012, confirmed with hindsight. Alternatively, you’ll be left with a steaming pile of poo. Think of Edward II.
Merry Christmas, and for my money 2013 was pretty good year. So here’s hoping for 2014!
I think of production values as the standard of finish in the set.. Costumes.. Overall design etc, and in the case of the light Princess IMO it just looks like a ropey panto. But we'll just have to agree to having different standards!
I had a similar experience a year or so ago in Bournemouth when I saw the Three Phantoms. I complained to the management but they told me there was nothing could be done as they had paid for a ticket...errrr.....so had I. It's a very tricky one as far be it for me to suggest certain members of the community should not be allowed to enjoy a show but it did ruin my evening as there was constant "mooing" throughout the show.
I understand that some shows are now offering performances especially for disabled people, the autistic, and people with other problems as they and the parents and carers are well aware of the difficulty. It is a shame if someone can't go to the theatre because he / she moves about in an uncontrolled way or makes noises but in fact has the intellectual ability to enjoy it, so let's hope the idea spreads.