24 June 2008

The Pitmen Painters by Lee Hall

Oliver Kilbourn - Christopher Connel
Harry WilsonMichael Hodgson
Robert Lyon - Ian Kelly
Young Lad/Ben Nicholson - Brian Lonsdale
Susan Parks - Lisa McGrillis
George Brown - Deka Walmsley
Jimmy Floyd - David Whitaker
Helen Sutherland - Phillippa Wilson

Directed by Max Roberts
Designed by Gary McCann

Seen during it's premiere run at the Cottesloe. J31
Celebs in the audience: Alan Rickman, Phyllida Law, Melvyn Bragg, Robert Winston, Sinead Cussack (and an Irons Jr?), David Hare, Nicole Farhi and others whose names evade me.

This play sold out as the ink was drying on the press night reviews. Not a single big name in the production but a masterful piece of political comedy and based on a true story, to boot.
I saw it with a returned ticket in what appeared to be the house row on the night before it closed, but fear not as it returns to the Lyttelton in a few months. Suffice it to say I am glad to have seen it in the Cottesloe and it's not coincidence that the world and his luvvie wife rushed to see it there too.

I really enjoyed the variety of ways the works of art were presented. Some were projected and this meant the larger pieces could be split across the three screens. The canvases were on stage the whole time. Every scene change was choreographed so cleverly and each character was developed with easily identifiable personality. Fabulous piece with broad Northumberland accents.

They had run out of programmes but I'll get one from the next run. They printed bigger than normal cast sheets which gave a running time of 2hrs 15mins but unless I took 45 minutes to get to my car, they ran a good deal longer than that.

I should probably link to The Ashington Painters somewhere and a picture wouldn't go amiss.