Archive for December, 2011

Comments – Haunted Child – Royal Court Theatre

December 5, 2011

You’d think I could sit through a two hour play on any night, even if it were without an interval. “Haunted Child,” the new show at the Royal Court, is two hours with an interval. And yet, I used the interval as my cue to leave the theater

I guess I’m losing my dedication to my blog; but I’m just not staying anymore when I want to fall asleep during the first act of a show. And this talky, dull show was once again “the play that I hate” (see Chicken Soup with Barley and Ecstasy) – a horrible, talky party in which I am stuck listening to people who aren’t interesting but still yammer on, scene after scene. Yeah, Dad (Ben Daniels) ran off and joined a cult, and now he’s talking shit, frustrating his wife and filling his kid’s head with garbage. Unfortunately I’ve had to deal of plenty of people like this and letting them go on just encourages them in their delusions. I felt no sense of pathos for Mom (Sophie Okonedo) or her bratty kid. She, like me, needed to cut her losses; I succeeded. She is strong and will get along fine on her own.

More interesting to me would have been a play about Dad’s time in the cult. But, well, I didn’t get that play. Instead, I got an interval and a nice quick trip back to Tooting.

In short, I’ll think of this as the night the Royal Court let me get a full night’s sleep. Bless those 10 quid tickets for making me not feel guilty for doing it!

(This review is for a performance that took lace on December 5th, 2011. Jack Boulter played the son and was rather wooden. Rather makes the accomplishments of the Matilda cast that more impressive. Here’s a link to Ian’s review now that he’s finished; he noted, however, that many other people in the vicinity cleared out at the interval, so it wasn’t just me.)

Review – Comedy of Errors – National Theatre

December 4, 2011

It’s been over a week since I’ve seen this show and I’m having a hard time writing up my review. That tends to happen with shows that I’m not passionate about, and that’s definitely the case for the National’s current production of Comedy of Errors. The play was really fresh in my mind thanks to seeing Propeller’s “pocket” version of it in September; this production showed to me that most of the flaws of this show come right down to the script. While there are some momemts I enjoyed (such as Dromio of Syracuse’s description of maid Luce), the comedy seems to turn far too much on just how funny it is to beat up servants. I found this offensive, nearly as bad to my 21st century sensibilities as Taming of the Shrew. Anyway …

The National has gone for a non-typical cast by creating Egeon (merchant of Syracuse, Joseph Mydell) and his wife (played by Pamela Nomvete) as black people, thus the two sets of twins, their sons Antiopholus (one of Syracuse, Lenny Henry, the other of Ephesus, Chris Jarman) and their respective servants Dromio (one of Syracuse, Lucian Msamati, one of Ephesus, Daniel Poyser) are also black. This allows them to add a lot of flavor to the production, sort of a Caribbean touch, that wouldn’t have been there otherwise; but what I really liked about it is that it gave a bunch of folks I probably never would have seen on stage together a chance to get out there and really show their chops. And they were great! Both Antipholus (Antipholi?) really hammed up the gags, and the Dromio’s were suitably comic and downtrodden and goofy. However … I was just waiting for the Dromio’s to slap the Antipholi for their ridiculous behavior and say, “I am a man, and you are not to treat me like a dog. I quit. Go find your own damned rope.” But it never happened. So yes, there were some mistaken identities, and the cast was all a top notch pile such as one will find at the National, and the set was nicely designed … but in the end I just didn’t really care that much. A fine evening and one that I forgot almost as soon as the door had shut behind me. Perhaps I’ll get to see them all reunited some day in a much better play than this one.

(This review is for a performance that took place on Friday, November 25th, 2011. It’s booking through April 2012.)