10 April 2008

Birth of a Nation by Mark Ravenhill

Writer - Megan Dodds
Painter - Monica Dolan
Performer - Toby Jones
Dancer - Pearce Quigley
Woman - Badira Timimi

Directed by Ramin Gray

Seen during the wonderful Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat season being staged at four different venues around London this week. It was free seating but I think we went for the middle of row B

I have already seen 6 of these at the Hampstead Theatre last year.

Sadly, this event was one concept too far for your average punter so there were last minute tickets pretty much being given away and the house was heavily papered. We saw Corin Redgrave, Neil Dudgeon, Justin Salinger, Mel Kenyon and Mark himself (does that count?). There were several other faces there whose names sadly escape me.

I do sometimes have my issues with Ramin but the way he handled this piece was really very good. He had the cast wander into the auditorium from the front of house and ask for the house lights to be turned on so they could applaud us for turning up which whilst being pertinent to the entire script, was also hilarious given the efforts they had gone to in order to fill the stalls.
Wonderful performances from all of them but it's such a good script. Lots of interrupting each other and ego battles. Lovely little thing where Toby Jones always dismissed what he did as 'art installation bollocks' and Pearce with his dance. I loved this and with a few important adjustments it would work on tv.