14 February 2011

Our Private Life by Pedro Miguel Rozo
Translated by Simon Scardifield

Sergio - Eugene O'Hare
Carlos - Colin Morgan
The Mother - Ishia Bennison
Tania - Clare Cathcart
The Psychiatrist - Adrian Schiller
The Father - Anthony O'Donnell
Joaquin - Joshua Williams

Directed by Lyndsey Turner and designed by Lizzie Clachan

Seen at the Royal Court Upstairs in it's third performance of the run.

This had better look sharp and settle in before press night although most performances seem to be sold out already. It's a bit of a mess and I fear the fault may be across the language divide.

I had the strong sense that there could be something very good in here but it felt messy and the punch points seemed misplaced. The idea of thoughts being as loud as dialogue in a family who don't communicate properly is a wonderful line of discussion but it wasn't exploited other than for a few lame laughs. This was exacerbated some over-excited members of the audience exploding false guffaws at the start but even they weren't able to sustain them once they'd got over seeing Merlin in the flesh (who seems to have forgotten what to do on a stage).

It doesn't stop there. The mother was poorly cast in particular. She gave an energetic performance but having a brash, 'Jewish Mother' in a family who reference their Catholic upbringing more than once seemed like a strange choice however Joshua William's portrayal of the boy hails another performer's career to watch out for.

The set was clever and simply served the plot although my OCD was bothered by the messy way the tablecloth was skewed across the table for the duration. Had there been an interval, I would have straightened it myself. A traditional stage was used but at right angles to the normal configuration in order to give more width. This meant fewer, longer rows of seats and annoyingly there was no centre aisle.

08 February 2011

A Flea in Your Ear by Georges Feydeau
in a translation by John Mortimer

Olympe -Di Botcher
Romain Tournel- Jonathan Cake
Dr Finache - Oliver Cotton
Raymonde Chandebise - Lisa Dillon
Camille Chandebise - Freddie Fox
Lucienne Homenides de Histangua - Fiona Glascott
Victor Emmanuel Chandebise/Poche - Tom Hollander
Augustin Feraillon - Lloyd Hutchinson
Etienne Plucheux - Tim McMullan
Carlos Homenides de Histangua - John Marquez
Baptisin - William Maxwell -
Eugenie - Rebecca Night
Antoinette Plucheux - Maggie Service
Herr Schwarz - Walter van Dyk

Guests at the Hotel Coq D'Or - Greg Baldock, Peter Cadden, Emma Campbell-Jones, William Findley, Kirsten Hazel Smith

Directed by Richard Eyre and set designed by Rob Howell.

Seen during it's run at the Old Vic in a wonderful half-price seat

I don't rush to see a farce but I have unfaltering faith in Richard Eyre, adore this theatre and have never been let down by the notable members of this cast.

It hits the ground running with lot of silly exchanges, some a tad too shrill for my liking but the entire piece is deftly set up in a matter of minutes.

A production like this can fall on it's face at the first hurdle but the faith that brought me here was well placed. The timing and sheer joy of the cast make this romp along in an relaxing way.

At first, I was distracted but Mr Hollander's 'enhanced' bottom but it soon became clear that a sweet gluteus maximus can only take so much bashing without padding. Tom's energy was exhausting as he dashed in and out of his various costumes finishing off with a delightfully pratish moment at the curtain call. I am not sure how he manages with two performances and I doubt I would rush to see this in the evening of a matinee day. That said, he is probably flying on adrenaline.
I just enjoyed the freshness of his performance this time.

Ms Dillon was divine once again but the male cast were the most pleasurable to observe. Oliver Cotton maintains his grandeur in the face of ridiculous circumstances and subtly holds the fulcrum of the farce together. Freddie Fox's cleft palette was no doubt a difficult thing to perfect without seeming too ridiculous even for this but in the most part, he was superb albeit annoying. The only actor who I felt was physically miscast gave a faultless performance.

The set for the hotel was gloriously ridiculous and a complete shock after the austere drawing room of the Chandebise's house. That it was swung into place in so few minutes and still settling as the curtain went back up was one of the most joyful moments of the night.

If you know what you're in for, understand the craft of these things and are not looking for deep, intellectual post-show debate, toss your cares aside and laugh your way around this.

07 February 2011

The Heretic by Richard Bean

Dr Diane Cassell - Juliet Stephenson
Pheobe - Lydia Wilson
Ben Shooter - Johnny Flynn
Geoff Tordoff - Adrian Hood
Professor Kevin Maloney - James Fleet
Catherine Tickell - Leah Whitaker

Directed by Jeremy Herrin and designed by Peter McKintosh.

Seen on a last minute Monday cheapie at the Royal Court Downstairs.
Celebrity in the audience...that woman with the eyes....don't worry, it'll come to me.

Fabulous characters and a very funny script. There were a couple of problems but they'll sort themselves out by press night.

Gorgeous bit of new writing performed by a very tight cast, the newer members of which are certainly people to keep an eye on in future. Sing to me, Johnny.