29 July 2006

Savages by Christopher Hampton

Mr West - James Pearce
Mrs West - Yolanda Kettle
Carlos Esquerdo - Josh Azouz
Crawford - Louise Brooke
Major Brigg - Jack Bannell
Penn - Winston Alaneme
Kumal - Luke Rabbito
Investigator - David Grewcock
Ataide Pereria - James Cooper
.....plus all the Indians

A National Youth Theatre production directed by Edward Kemp and designed by Mchael Ozouf at the Royal Court Downstairs

This was a bold and spectacular effort at including as many company members as possible with set pieces from the Indians being a little loud and over-long for my liking. A couple of standout performances that will bring interesting watching in the years to come.

27 July 2006

tamasha new writing showcase

I could address all four reading seperately as they were all so wonderful but since they were not full productions I don't think it's appropriate.

Four writers were give a brief to write for a maximum of three characters, no longer than 15 minutes and all to take place in one day.

The wonderful cast of readers included Tony Jaywardena, Krupa Pattani, Vinny Dhillon, Lucy Adams, Phillip Elvy and Dione Inman,

The pieces were:-

Babe by Mina Maisuria, directed by Amman Brar
Up Down by Sonia Likhari, directed by Poonam Brah
Silence in Golden by Alan Jones, directed by Amman Brar
Gollywog by Nina Patel, directed by Poonam Brah

Performed at the Michael Frayn room in the Hampstead Theatre

A wonderful and hilarious evening with sharp wit and great performances.

Three of the plays were based around the public perceptions and cliches surrounding the Asian community and the final reading was a really clever exploration of a supposed conversation between Enid Blyton and Gollywog.

19 July 2006

On the Third Day by Kate Betts

AKA "The Play's the Thing"

Young Claire - Daniella Wilson
Jesus/Waiter - Benjamin Wilkin
Claire - Maxine Peake
Mike - Paul Hilton
Young Robbie - Jordan Clarke
Robbie - Tom McKay
Elvis - Tom Silburn

Directed by Robert Delamere
Designed by Mark Thompson

See towards the end of it's first and probably on run at the New Ambassador's Theatre

A bit of a muddle of a play. This needs so much more work and I suspect there might be something good in there but a novice writer needs time to work on this and from I could tell from the tv show that sporned it, she didn't have that.

The cast did the best they could with the script and the designed excelled himself. Kate should be overjoyed at such attention but it's not there yet.

Children lose their parents at an early age and the little girl finds solace in the heavens and Jesus. There is confusion (to me)over whether we are watching two parallel existances or whether the children also died.

So many very serious issues are covered in this piece but it shouts 'inexperience' at you from the very first and frankly labourious scene.

The audience were divided. A small house seemed to be willing them to do well but about a quarter of them had no respect whatsoever. Phones going off, late arrivals taking several minutes to sort themselves out once they had sat down. Talking during the performance and that awful thing where someone misguidedly thinks that buy russling a bag to open a sweet reeeeaaaallly slowly will somehow make it less intrusive, when the opposite is true. All the things I hate so the production did well to rise above that!

10 July 2006

The Seagull by Anton Chekhov

in an adaptation by Martin Crimp the cast were as follows:-
Arkadina - Juliet Stevenson
Konstantin - Ben Whishaw
Sorin - Gawn Grainger
Nina - Hattie Morohan
Shamraev - Michael Gould
Polina - Liz Kettle
Masha - Sandy McDade
Trigorin - Mark Bazeley
Dorn - Angus Wright
Medvedienko - Justin Salinger
Yakov - James Bolt
Servants - James Bolt, Beth Fitzgerald, Jonah Russell

Directed by Katie Mitchell
Designed by Vicki Mortimer

During this adaptation's first run at the Littleton Theatre

Well, you will not often see me say this but I was dissappointed.

I came to see Ben in the knowledge that I would not enjoy Juliet and there lies the problem. I did not feel the cast were all under the same direction. Juliet was prancing around over-doing it as usual and Ben was showing a little too much of his troubled angst that he can do so well but usually keeps back more.

I don't know if there was a genuine technical problem on the day I went but the very first scene change took a full four minutes. That is a very long time and the audience didn't know what to do. The set was majestic and the changes cannot have been easy but in a production where cohesion is lacking already, pausing for the men in black to fart around it the last thing it needed.

There were some nice little performances but I wanted them to all be on the same page

05 July 2006

Eh Joe by Samuel Beckett

Joe - Michael Gambon
Woman's Voice - Penelope Wilton

Directed by Atom Egoyan
Designed by Eileen Diss

During it's short run at the Duke of York's Theatre
First live production of this in the UK. The production premiered in Dublin in April 06

Joe sits on the side of his bed and allows the woman he 'loved' to tell him of all the terrible things he has done to her.

The most intense 30 minutes you are likely to spend in the theatre this summer. I've hopefully included that picture to set the scene. Penelope Wilton's voice is almost unrecognisable as she inhabits the Beckett tone, continually questioning Joe's motives and he flinches and sickens at her words. We see the great Gambon in profile but his full frontal face is caught on closed circuit camera and projected as we listen and watch this grotesque yet pathetic figure having his faults laid out before us.

Once again mesmerised by Michael's beautiful, graceful and expressive hands.
I long to see this again but doubt I will have the time....as a silly note.....if you look at my other Blogger recording my film notes you will see a picture in the snow. It is a shot of none other than Atom Egoyan, the director of this piece.