Sunday, 13 May 2012

Quick Update

So it has been three months since I last updated. I apologise, it was never my intention to have such a delay between reviews but the truth is I have struggled to write anything decent for the plays I have seen. I will give quick overviews of what I have seen since February 1st 2012

Tyne Daly
Masterclass, Vaudeville Theatre 1 February 2012
Starring Tyne Daly as Maria Callas. Daly gives a stunning performance (and she looks great) and is successful in her monologues as well has her chemistry with other cast members but the play isn't as good as her performance. The monologues don't feel like anybody's voice and it skirts over her relationship with Onassis rather than looks at it in the detail it deserves. It doesn't seem sure of its audience either, is it about opera, is it about Callas or is about attracting a lot of Cagney and Lacey fans.

Absent Friends, Harold Pinter Theatre 2 February 2012
There are some that get the point of staging Alan Auckbourn's Absent Friends and there are some that don't. I don't. In Absent Friends it is a series of events and talking (someone on discussion board compared it to Coronation Street, that is an insult to Corrie) there isn't a conclusion just a bunch of very good actors (Katherine Parkinson, Reece Shearsmith, Kara Tointon amongst others give strong performances)  with a script that doesn't do them justice. I like a conclusion and I like to care what happens next off-stage. I didn't get that with Absent Friends.

The Importance of Being Earnest, Theatre Royal Haymarket 3 February 2012
James McNicholas
I really enjoyed this limited run of the Old Red Lion production of Earnest. Had a fantastic cast including  James McNicholas as Algernon and Harriet Ballard as Cecily and any weak links in performance by other actors could easily be ignored with such a fantastic production. It was a fun, modern take on a play that has been done to death and fair play to TRH for taking on an off West End production, bringing it to the masses and not being in the dark unnecessarily (Trafalgar Studies could learn from this)
 The issue I had was a personal one. My awful, awful seats. The Theatre Royal Haymarket is a horrible theatre. I was stuck in the balcony on uncomfotable chairs and the inability to hear very much. Subtle facial expressions were missed (particularly noticeable as the stalls were laughing in the aisles and all the balcony poors looked confused at each other). Those sorts of theatres encourage the 'Them and us' attitude that puts a lot of the general public off attending plays. TRH has no right to charging anyone when they can't even see all the stage.

She Stoops to Conquer, Olivier Theatre 7 February 2012
I walked out at the interval is the nicest thing I can say about this play. It added to my belief that the early part of 2012 has been incredibly disappointing for productions at the National and I hope the newer season, which includes Antigone, with Christopher Ecclestone and Jodie Whittaker and Timon of Athens with Brain Tree favourite Simon Russell Beale is an improvement.

After Miss Julie, New Vic 14 April 2012
Natalie Dormer and Kieran Bew
A big gap in my theatre schedule there; I was ill/seeing films/comedy/missing booked plays. After Miss Julie by Patrick Marber (a nice comedy connection there)  is adapted from August Strindberg's Miss Julie (which was on in Manchester starring Maxine Peake) and the setting is moved to 1945's General election. I mostly went for the beautiful Natalie Dormer and she didn't disappoint. I fear she will never be a Judi Dench-esque national treasure because she specialises in bitches but she is damn good at them. The space was very odd, you literally walk across the set as you make your way to your (unreserved-cue confusion and chaos) seat and it feels very intimate. You don't really get that in many central London theatres and it is nice but I also like my distance as an audience member.

No comments:

Post a Comment