21 May 2009

Grasses of a Thousand Colours by Wallace Shawn

Rose - Emily McDonnell
Cerise - Miranda Richardson
The Memoirist (Ben) - Wallace Shawn
Robin - Jennifer Tilly

Director Andre Gregory
Designer Eugene Lee

Seen at great length upstairs in The Royal Court during it's premiere run there. We went on Post Show Talk night but they cancelled the talk because the production is so bloomin' loooong.

I could argue that if I had not heard this adorable man (Shawn) bumbling away on Radio 4's Today programme and stayed for the talk after The Fever, I would have been very uncomfortable from the start, imagining that he had forgotten his own text and was using hackneyed techniques to fill the air while he remembered. Even armed with these previous experiences there were moments of discomfort but they were far outweighed by much laughter (until I lost the energy to do so).

There is a point when Cerise gently enquires if anyone in the audience doesn't like talking about sex. Of course, we are all seasoned theatre-goers so we don't imagine she is asking this for any other reason than for dramatic effect but then she reforms the question with a sense of urgency and then a rather brusque insistence that if you don't like sex in theatre you should leave and don't worry, she'll wait until you have gone. Her next few lines are fairly lacking in any seriously salacious content but something like 15 minutes later, your mind floats back to her scene (which does actually bring the production to a brave half for a moment) as you hear things described and discussed that you could not have dreamt or anticipated.

I loved seeing Miranda Richardson glide a few feet in front of me. Emily and Jennifer were also fine but this could just have easily been told by Wally sitting in a nice cosy arm chair. I am really not convinced the wives needed to be there. Some of the projection work was interesting and beautiful but I didn't really think this piece warranted quite so much of a mixed media feel.

Have a look at what The Independent, The Telegraph, The Guardian and The Times had to say.