04 March 2009

Mrs Affleck by Samuel Adamson
from Henrick Ibsen's Little Eyolf

Flea : Josef Altin
Waitress : Cassie Atkinson
George Constantine : Omar Brown
Jonathan Mortimer : Phil Cheadle
Oliver : Wesley Nelson
Audrey Affleck : Naomi Frederick
Sophia Constantine : Sarah Niles
Rita Affleck : Claire Skinner
Alfred Affleck : Angus Wright

Director: Marianne Elliott
Designer: Bunny Christie

At the Cottesloe in what the box-office lad described as a lovely seat with great leg room. I had to move at the interval. Please read on.....

Despite my considerable efforts to avoid spoilers and reviews, the writing was somewhat etched on the wall when the repeated emails from the NT arrived pleading with me to take advantage of their bargain seats. Eventually, I got wind that this was a dog of a production but I will not let the opinion of the masses get in the way of me forming my own since Mr Adamson & Ms Elliott have never previously let me down and in the case of Southwark Fair, thrilled me to the point of bursting.

This is not the tightest piece of writing and much as I adore Ms Skinner, I think she may have actually been too harsh & squeaky to convey the delicacy I wanted to see in that role.
The biggest problem with the whole thing and one that must surely have had an impact upon any journalist's perception of the production is that by some ridiculous brain malfunction in the director/design department more that 60 per cent of the audience were subjected to spine twisting and contorting for the duration. The performance space is a 'T' shape and the only consistently good viewing point is from the base of the T.

Even though I had 'best seats' I could not comfortably watch half the action. If I had been able to turn my body sufficiently (which there is not room for in the tightly packed Cottesloe seats) my view would have been obstructed by the person next to me doing the same thing. I am absolutely staggered that this was not thought through a little better.
At the interval, I grabbed one of the many empty seats in the only tolerably comfortable & full vision area which meant I could give my full attention to the production. I love the things that can be achieved in versatile spaces like this but ill-conceived is my best shot at describing this one.

Angus, Claire & Naomi were giving the best they have and I cannot fault them. I just felt as though they might be wishing the end of the run would come sooner. Sarah Niles has a small but pivotal role and almost stole the scene. Costumes were lovely!