27 May 2009

Taking Sides by Ronald Harwood

Helmuth Rode - Pip Donaghy
Lieutenant David Wills - Martin Hutson
Emmi Staube - Sophie Roberts
Dr Willhelm Furtwaengler - Michael Pennington
Major Steve Arnold - David Horovitsch
Tamara Sachs - Melanie Jessop

Directed by Philip Franks
Designed by Simon Higlett

Got a free ticket for this and thought I was coming to a preview. As it turned out I was filling a seat at the press performance. Had I been better dressed I could have ligged myself into the Sofra party with great ease. Sat up near the front of the Dress Circle but this is such a tiny theatre that the old vertigo kicked en route to the seat.

I loved what they did with the two short Pinter plays a couple of years ago but these are two longer Harwood plays and for my money, they were shown the wrong way round for the Press. I found the fourth wall thing tantamount to breaking the contract I made with them when I took my seat and the shrill squawking was embarrassing. Two or three good performances were let down by extremely mediocre and I don't blame the actors for this. The young couple were left hanging around with nothing to do like apologetic statues and with their office setting, they could have easily looked more natural. It was like bad musical hall at some points. I know I'm in the minority because it would never had made it's way from Chichester if it had been genuinely bad.

What's On Stage Review.