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mallardoMember Since 05 Mar 2011
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Posted mrkringas on 17 January 2014 - 10:03 PM
Posted Latecomer on 15 January 2014 - 09:36 PM
Full house today and very well received.
Exhausted watching it!
Favourite quote "champagne"
Glad I saw it and at curtain call...all those people, putting in all that work....for £12, picked up as they popped up on the website as returns. Splendid!
Posted Adara on 08 January 2014 - 02:25 AM
I've had several situations with an unprepared understudy on book. There was a subscription series in Los Angeles called "Reprise" -- they did partially-staged musicals in concert (in some of their earlier shows, everyone was on book, although they weren't for this one). I showed up for their "Threepenny Opera," only to learn that the regular Macheath was out sick, and the understudy would be on, although they'd never had time for an understudy rehearsal. They offered us the option of seeing the understudy (on book) or trading our tickets for a later performance. I will generally see the understudy -- you never know who is going to give that breakout performance (and you'll be able to say "I saw him when..."). I was amused with how they dealt with the problem. At one point in the play, Macheath offers a bribe to his jailers to let him out of the handcuffs. The jailer is supposed to take the bribe, but leave Macheath cuffed anyway. When the understudy was on, he couldn't hold his script when handcuffed, so, on this one occasion, the jailer could, in fact, be bought.
Posted Latecomer on 06 January 2014 - 03:28 PM
Posted Theatresquirrel on 05 January 2014 - 01:29 AM
BUT the production is wonderful, constantly inventive, beautifully, generously designed, intricately evocative of the style and swagger of European art and society in the early 20th century, and the cast work their (amply padded) socks off.
Can't believe I'm the first person in 7 pages of posts to mention the music: in the first half, there are beautifully reinvented excerpts from Wagner, in the second half all sorts of lusty, furtive surprises: I'd never heard anything quite like the headlong accordion that accompanies the sex scenes. It's so great having the musicians onstage throughout too, intermingling, and I laughed a lot at their final deed.
Also can't believe I'm only the second person in 7 pages to mention *that scene* in the snow. Yes, we've all seen white sheets used for snow before, but wow, never like this. How it starts is thrilling. The gestures, the music. So beautiful. I'll keep this spoiler-free, but the subsequent moment when a tree appears was utterly bewildering and captivating too. How Gina Bellman ends up in this scene too is gripping. And anchoring it all, Adam Godley is so vivid and sinister and endearing all at once in this sequence - and throughout.
As someone else here said, the choreography in the first scene too is as gorgeous as anything I've seen in the theatre in the last year. Not all scenes have the same punch, but they don't in any other play either.
It does have its shortfalls and occasional longeurs (I could have done with one or two fewer confessions at the end), but you can only blame the original play for that. But I can well imagine it had a real impact in its day - and has certainly influenced so many subsequent things which it now, in turns, seems to echo - so I applaud the National for staging it, and boy they've staged it in the most lavish and loving way imaginable.
No walkouts on my watch today. A hell of a lot of laughter, and folks whooping 'Bravo' at the end.
Judge for yourself, but I definitely think it's worth seeing.
Posted BGLowe on 03 January 2014 - 01:09 PM
My main problem lies mostly with the story. I am a 20 year old student studying Politics, so I have a degree of knowledge of the time/era and I had read a bit about the profumo affair. Prior to seeing this, I did wonder how he would make this story translate to the audience and interest them, however as ALW has a history of taking 'uncoventional' stories and making them work, I reserved judgment. I honestly have no idea what made him think this could work. Who exactly is he appealing to? The only market I can think he is trying to tap into is the Theatre-goer who likes a bit of seriousness, a bit of thinking, a bit of Sondheim if you will. The story to me just had no heart. I didn't feel anything for anybody. Keeler and Ward's relationship is just thrust upon us with almost no justification, in fact that seems to be a recurring theme of characters just thrust upon us. I also feel that the story really lacked the reasoning about why this was such a scandal and why it nearly brought the government down. They touch upon it briefly with Keeler and the Russian, but I think most people would come out it and think 'So what? Why did it really matter?' (I certainly did and I know the background). I can't knock the performers, they gave it their all with what material they had.
The music. I think perhaps it is something that could grow on me, and I did really like Joanna Riding and her song. But again, I just felt nothing for her. There was no character development with her as we'd just met her briefly before so I felt nothing when she sang. I can see me appreciating this music at home without the story, as opposed to on the stage.
Ultimately, it lacked any kind of heart of me. Equally, I didn't really appreciate the 'Ward is completely innocent' stance that this took; I think that is an overly simplified view point to take. On the other hand my mother enjoyed it far more than me, so maybe I am just not the audience ALW was appealing to. I'm very glad I went, but mainly so I know never to go again.
Posted mrkringas on 29 December 2013 - 10:37 PM
Carrie Underwood? Fine. Earnest and sweet. Nice to hear a different take on the score. Lonely Goatherd was great thanks to all that country yodelling.
Also confess to welling up when the Captain sings his reprise of the title song and reconnects with his children. For years I blithely ignored this show as "naff" - sure its saccharine but there is an important story here and its rightly provided generations with entertainment.
Posted Duncan on 29 December 2013 - 11:30 PM
Many people's brains are powered by movement of the jaw. If the jaw stops moving the cerebral cortex is deprived of oxygen and brain death occurs within about ten minutes.
Posted cat123 on 29 December 2013 - 11:26 AM
It can't just be me who thinks the show starts the moment the lights go down regardless of whether there are actors on stage or not, can it?
Posted steveatplays on 29 December 2013 - 01:50 AM
This is wonderful.
Yes, the horror is mostly gone, most murders abbreviated, and even critical murders are mostly bloodless. Anyone who wants to relive the gory details of the novel will be sorely disappointed.
But the satire is glorious, hilarious, choreographed and corruscating.
The song and dance numbers are the best I've seen this year. It's hard to pick a favourite, but of the new songs, "You are what you wear" is like the most glamorous and caustic new song from Lady Gaga's "Artpop," and "Oh Sri Lanka" is a mini-masterpiece, in which Matt Smith's Bateman sings and dances his faux-concern for the suffering people of the world in one-upmanship and posturing that rivals Monty Python's "Four Yorkshiremen" sketch, who all ate lumps of cold poison for breakfast and worked 29 hours a day down the mill.
Of the golden oldies, co-opted into the musical, Tears for Fears' "Everybody wants to rule the world" aptly sets the scene of Hobbes' war of all against all, and Phil Collin's "In the Air tonight" perfectly captures Bateman's haunting transition away from designer brands towards the world of designer murder.
Indeed, haunting is the key word, for this musical plays like a fever dream, background projections shimmering at the edges, characters apparently copulating with sketches on walls, Bateman talking murder without anyone hearing him, suggesting nothing we see is real but Bateman's darkening interior dream world.
This Bateman is much more sympathetic than the Bateman of the novel or the film. Those Batemans were evil serial-killing unfeeling sociopaths. In the song "Not a common man," Bateman aspires to be like those Batemans, like Bundy or Gein, but he fails. Instead, Matt Smith's Bateman is an more of an everyman who realises that our whole world, and everyone in it (including himself), is worthless and meaningless. And Matt Smith's zombie-in-a-suit appearance and ordinary-bloke-singing-style make him perfect casting to imbue the otherness that allows him to see this below-the-surface existential meaninglessness that the other characters miss.
"If we get married" is a powerful song in this context, this musical's version of Peggy Lee's despairing "Is that all there is?," where Bateman tries to dream of a meaningful life, and realises he can never have one.
The first half critique of consumerism is simultaneously seductive (I have never wanted to taste so many exotic dishes or wanted to try on so many smart suits) and lascerating (the war for the best font on a calling card is hilarious).
The second half meanders a little, the transition from stabbing a rough sleeper in the stomach to being a mourner of all the meaninglessness in the world is somewhat inelegant.
But while this show may not be perfect, it is an incredibly meaningful show, with captivating choreography (perhaps better appreciated from the back of the theatre than the front) set to wonderful songs, both old and new. It is fronted by an actor at the top of his game, with great supporting performances from the likes of Gillian Kirkpatrick, Susannah Fielding, Cassandra Compton, Ben Aldridge and Jonathan Bailey.
This show deserves the West End and Broadway future for which it is obviously intended. 4 stars.
Posted Mrs Lovett's Meat Pie on 29 December 2013 - 12:30 AM
My best (in no order other than that of me going "oooo, I liked that" when sorting through my programmes)
1) Billy (Union) - gloriously dark and a fab young cast
2) Chimerica (Almeida) - only time I've ever cried in theatre
3) Constellations (Dukes) - wowsers in my trousers
4) Edward II (National) - so good I saw it twice
5) The Light Princess (National) - one of those productions that, in 20 years time, all u lot will pretend u loved it he first time
6) The Pride (Trafalgar) - Al Weaver performance of the year hands down
7) The PlayThat Goes Wrong (Trafalgar) - silly brilliance
1) Grandage Season (Coward) - apart from PoP, complete yawnfest. Should b ashamed to promote this for first time theatre goers
2) Mousetrap (Royal Theatre Brighton) - REALLY?!
3) The Amen Corner (National) - over hyped, over acted and over not soon enough
My favourite theatre related event of the last year (and last month) has been when I got banned from posting on here! 2 weeks for discussing how someone's review was rather pointless.
Obviously I'm allowed to be patronised coz I'm 'working class' , shop 'on the high street' and 'sit in the slips'.
I have to thank the moderator that banned me thou coz the street cred I have got in theatre circles down south has literally got my laid TWICE!! There is something positively arousing about yourself when u have been censored!
Posted Pharaoh's number 2 on 26 December 2013 - 03:17 PM
My show of the year was The Audience, with runners-up including (in no particular order) Once, A Human Being Died That Night, The Herd, The Pajama Game, Di and Viv and Rose, The Winslow Boy, Othello and Eat Pray Laugh!
And of course 50 Years On Stage was the most extraordinary night, but as you say Nicholas, it doesn't feel right to count it.
But this year has thrown up lots of delights - Circle Mirror Transformation, London Wall, the trio of plays about modern China, The Night Alive, Handbagged, Josephine and I, A Chorus Line - and more than its share of duds - Strangers on a Train, The Duck House, Great Expectations, The Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas and Barnum, to name a few.
I've written more on my blog, on which I hope to post more regularly next year, so please do take a look: http://gapyeartheatr...in-theatre.html
This board is one of the reasons why I love theatregoing. Even if you go and see something on your own (which I more than often do), this is a place where you can still discuss productions with like-minded people, even if our opinions differ (sometimes drastically!). And it's also a place to find out about shows which don't receive major national press coverage, such as London Wall, a little gem at the Finborough which then had a three week run at the St James, which I wouldn't have gone to if it weren't for Mallardo's original comment on here. So thank you. And it's been lovely getting to know a few of you in person, too.
Happy New Year, and here's to a great 2014 of theatre!
Posted Latecomer on 27 December 2013 - 09:11 AM
In no particular order....
A splendid day out at the beginning of January when I escaped after Christmas and had the whole day to myself....Old Money, meeting Maureen Lipman afterwards and then the brilliant madness of In the Republic of Happiness...and all the while fielding phone calls with daughter who finally secured the room she wanted to rent at the end of the day!
Circle Mirror Transformation....so HOT, great setting and felt like getting to know real people. Plus good company!
Everything at The Bush theatre...Disgraced, Cush Jumbo (she fooled me into thinking she was really late), and finally The Herd - great company and made me sob quietly at the end.
Good stuff at the Almeida...Before the Party an unexpected treat and then Chimerica with its twists and turns and excellent staging!
Mojo....Ben and Daniel Mays and first time seeing the play and such FUN!
Death Tax with Anna Calder Maxwell....splendid!
The Globe touring trio of Henry V1 plays at Oxford Playhouse in one day as I didn't decide to go until the night before, they were richly entertaining and forum friend came at the last minute for one of them and the two gaps inbetween! Unexpected treat!
John Hefferman in Edward II....loved it and thought it was so clear and witty.
Season in the Congo and Scottsboro Boys as cheeky Wednesday matinees now my job has been rearranged and I no longer work on a Wed...both the sort of thing I don't usually see. Both great.
Julius Caesar at the Donmar...twice....perfect company both times....front row(!) and such a clever production. Liked the way they made people disappear, as if by magic, and Harriet Walters spoke the verse so well! Note to self...need red marigolds sometime to wash up in.
Old Times....so nearly missed it as fire on the train line so mad dash to another station and got there with 10mins to spare....and it was great and Rufus was splendid. Plus it felt like the first day of Spring as it was finally sunny and warm after the long winter.
Peter and Alice - took an old friend and got a box as that has always been her ambition. Loved Ben and the play...one of those days where everything goes right!
As You Like It at RSC....Pippa and Alex and a joyful production! Plus great chips before hand and good company! A Mad World my Masters with the perfect person who laughed at everything and carried me along with the mood!
Race at Hampstead, as loved seeing Clarke Peters up close. Longing there too as I so needed a break after a tough time and the play was very apt....just suited my circumstances at the time. Plus it was a lovely day out with husband.
Di and Viv and Rose seen with my forum buddies, very fine writing and acting and felt like splendid way to see it!
A satsifying day out watching The American Plan and then The Pride.....with a splendid pizza in between! The Pride 3 times in fact and being a little bit in love with all the cast!
A lovely pre-Christmas couple of visits with special forum friends...El Train with the lovely Ruth Wilson and had front row seats and took daughter too....and Jumpers for Goalposts that reminded me that some of the best drama comes from ordinary people leading ordinary lives and trying to muddle through....plus what great soup the Bush does!
And my top highlight has to be The Night Alive. Splendid set, front row seats(!), great cast, top class dialogue and the creepiest villain I have seen in a long time. Plus it was great to see it after The Weir and like it even more than that....
I've probably forgotten something....but a great year for me. I've enjoyed the smaller venues and being able to sneak in things midweek sometimes...and am looking forward to 2014!
Posted Honoured Guest on 24 December 2013 - 04:19 AM
I'm glad I hadn't read this thread or any reviews before seeing it because the heart of the show isn't about Occupy, except tangentially or as a device, but the publicity sends you into the show expecting it to centre on Occupy.
In my front row seat, I was personally engaged with by Danny, and I'm afraid I did fumble my response to some degree, but Danny went with me and played me like a fiddle, and it wasn't embarrassing because Rhys Ifans is an incredibly warm actor and he makes you aware of that, even as Danny is challenging you just inches away.
Posted Carlos on 16 December 2013 - 06:52 PM