19 February 2008

Ring Round the Moon by Jean Anouith & adapted by Christopher Fry

Emily Bruni - Lady India
Fiona Button - Isabelle
Joanna David - Capulat
Elisabeth Dermot Walsh - Diana
Peter Eyre - Joshua
JJ Feild - Hugo/Frederic
Andrew Havill - Patrice
Belinda Lang - Mother
Leigh Lawson - Messerschmann
John Ramm - Romainville
Angela Thorne - Madam Desmortes

Directed by Sean Mathias
Designed by Colin Richmond & Mark Henderson

Seen on it's press night at The Playhouse in seat A9

It would be pointless to mention all the actors in the audience. All of the cast had at least one relative there!

The atmosphere and performances on a press night are not totally representative of how it would be under other circumstances but I was not in such a hurry to see this so when a virtually free ticket popped up, I grabbed it.

The plot is a familiar format but I found the way it was presented was messy and incoherent. The audience needed to be grabbed from the start but the first 30 minutes where so clunky in their exposition that I struggled to keep my eyes open. Should I lay the blame at the feet of the late Mr Fry or Mr Mathias? It is to everyone's credit to say that I was able to re-engage for the second act as we got into the real plot and the actors were able to display their real purpose.

I thought Angela Thorne and Peter Eyre were fine. I want to add Leigh Lawson to that list but he is so gorgeous that I cannot trust my objectivity. I found the accent thing a little patronising but perhaps they are aiming at the populist audience.

The set really bothered me to the point of distraction. We were persistently asked to believe we were in the domain of wealthy people but this gazebo or whatever had a sort of laboured dilapidation. It was nicely minimal but incongruent lighting presumably installed to inform the audience of the time of day were pointedly badly maintained and a ridiculous cross member right over the centre arch was left at a jaunty angle. I was convinced this was some terrible error which would be rectified in the interval but I am informed that this is a feature of the set design.

I wasn't expecting an overly culturally fulfilling experience but this was sadly mediocre for my taste. Audience watching was fun though!

Oh -I have one last comment and I know it is probably trite but I was amused at the way JJ Feild curtain called both of his characters. Nicely done albeit rather silly.