Archive for March, 2013

Mini-review – Metafora -Ballet Flamenco de Andalucia at Sadler’s Wells Flamenco Festival 2013

March 24, 2013

Ballet Flamenco de Andalucia is the perfect beginner’s introduction to Flamenco, and this seemed to be reflected in the matinee audience on Saturday. It was full of schoolchildren and people who hurried to be inside the auditorium on time – the complete antithesis of every other performance I’d been to since the festival started. And, if I fess up, I’d decided for conservative seat in the first balcony way in the back, so obviously I had decided this was not the show to blow the wallet on.

The program started well, with a group of musicians to the back of the stage, and three men dancing in front of them. Then a red veil draping the rear third dropped away, and five women dressed in turquoise long-skirted dresses (“bata de cola”) were revealed, to my joy. They proceeded to the front of the stage and begin to do the magnificent dancing with the shawls whirling and the tails of the skirt being frequently and effortlessly kicked away as they spun around. It’s a hard style to show off your footwork, I think, but it’s really just a joyful spectacle, and I sat there grinning like a loon the whole time. And then the salmon-frocked Pastora Galvan (I think!) came out and showed the young chickies how it was done.

And then … well … I kind of felt like things lost their energy, perhaps because I think Flamenco doesn’t naturally lend itself to being performed in unison by groups. The only memorable things about the rest of teh show, for me, was the handsome solo of Ruben Olmo, skinny as a rail but powerful as hell and looking utterly focused, and then a languorous performance by Rocio Molina, with more of the unusual, angular arm work she’d done during her solo show but with considerable restraint to her personality. Except for a bit of singing, nearly the entire second half of the show was done to canned music, which for me totally killed the feeling, as one of my favorite things about flamenco is the feeling of connection between the singers, the musicians, and the performers – the electricity as they look at each other, trying to anticipate what would happen next – it was totally gone, It was just people doing exactly what they’d rehearsed in the studio, and it had exactly the kind of feeling of electricity and improvisation you’d expect from that. Ah well, I enjoyed the Alegrias section well enough as well as the chance to see so much of Pastora Galvan and once more of Rocio Molina, and, you know, for twelve quid I can’t complain much.

(This review is for the matinee that took place on Saturday, March 23rd 2013 at 2:30 PM. The Sadler’s Wells Flamenco Festival continues through March 27th.)


Mini-review – Aladdin – Birmingham Royal Ballet at London Coliseum

March 22, 2013

A new, full-length ballet is always a cause for celebration in this age of fiscal cutbacks, so I was excited that Birmingham Royal Ballet was bringing its production of Aladdin to London for all of us Big Smoke dwellers to see. Whee! What would David Bintley have on offer?

Well, one thing we did get was some awesome costumes and some really awesome sets. For me, the best part of the whole evening was when my favorite set (the magic cave, complete with color changing, glowing stalactites) met the greatest variety of costumes, producing the best set of dances … a new set of “Jewels,” as dancers representing the treasures of the Djinn swirled and capered around the open-jawed Aladdin (and then dropped a few gifts into his turban). My favorite was gold and silver, the men (William Bracewell and Tom Rogers) looking like incarnations of Louis XIV, the women (Yvette Knight and Yijing Zhang) with silver half-moons on their heads reminding me of Renaissance paintings of Artemis. I also enjoyed the exoticism of the Rubies duet (Momoko Hirata and Joseph Caley) – it had a nice feel of many of the Arabian/Coffee sequences from The Nutcracker.

Also a pleasure to watch was Tzu-Chao Chou as The Djinn of the Lamp, a role which gave him, not just the opportunity to fly around with smoke in the air, but lots of opportunity for spins and leaps and general displays of virtuousity. I don’t mean to sound too shallow, but I am in serious admiration of the very flattering costume he was wearing – the cut of the legs fluttered nicely, adding to the sense of motion.

While the plotting of the ballet was good and did not descend into Panto silliness (Aladdin meets evil magician; Aladdin is taken to cave and locked in; Aladdin escapes with help of lamp, marries local princess; princess inadvertently trades old lamp for new and is kidnapped by magician; Aladdin uses his wits to set everything right, unless you are the evil magician; triumphal scene in palace), I found the thing felt a bit like a pastiche of dance as well as music, and lacked a unifying driving force to it. I do enjoy spectacle, and we got both a lion dance and a dragon dance, as well as great animated puppets (showing the princess, Djinn and evil magician in the sky), but I wanted something more. Would a strong score have made a difference? Is Bintley’s strength in choreographing shorter ballets? I couldn’t make up my mind at the end of the night where the fault lie. I enjoyed myself enough, but I wanted greatness, and this was not achieved.

(This review is for a performance that took place on the night of Thursday, March 21st, 2013. It continues at the London Coliseum through March 24th; bargain seats might be found on the day at the TKTS booth; I got stalls seats for £25!)

Mini-review – Danzaora – Rocio Molina at Sadler’s Wells 2013 Flamenco Festival

March 20, 2013

My third opportunity to see Rocio Molina perform was an occasion for some thought afterwards. She’s proven her mastery of the techniques; it’s now, clearly, time for her to start demonstrating her abilities as an artist. To that effect, she chose a stripped down set: her, three accompanists, a square pillar with a vase and a goblet; and a small seating area in the back. The focus was really on dancing, and what dancing makes you think about when done well: the way music and footwork interact (her and a glowing tambourine); the body as an instrument (as one of her palmeros added in some much more complicated footwork); the artifice/necessity of accessories in flamenco (hair as a part of a dance; pistachio green versus granny shoes in a “I’ll choose whatever tool I want to suit my dance” style).

Ambition, I think, overtook this show; my experience as a flamenco audience was quickly overwhelmed by my years watching modern dance, which it seems Ms Molina hasn’t acquainted herself with. She was clearly moving flamenco forward from its rather smothering tradition (i.e. Farruquito’s show), achieving brilliance during the flamenca versus palmero section (which had echoes of Indiana Jones’ Nepalese drinking game) and deliciously warping the fabric of space and time during the “dancing to the echoes of my own feet” section at the very end. But as modern dance this show came of childish and half baked, with thin ideas and a reliance on cheese (“I smash the glass beneath my feet!” and “Behold! I shake the bells on my head!”) rather than depth and … well, intelligent modern dance. So I found parts of if it quite painful, but I was still able to accept its failings as the experiments of a choreographer trying to push the limits of what she knows, while hoping that perhaps she might get out and see how much broader a vocabulary and tradition exists than the one she seems to be working with.

My final thoughts were that there seem to be about four types of flamenco performances, which I define as follows: Ye Olde School, hypermasculine and choking on tradition (Farruquito); I Feel Pretty, the tourist tablao, with lots of long skirts and fans rather than excellent dance (Nuevo Ballet Espanol); “This time do it without the scarf” (a Brady Bunch reference), a show which attempts to be “modern” that fail but may feature excellent dancing (tonight); and shows that actually push the art form forward (Israel Galvan, coming up Sunday but my review of his last show here; Paco Pena’s Quimeras). The last is, of course, my favorite kind; but what I enjoy about the Flamenco Festival is that it gives me a chance to see so many different kinds of flamenco performed that I feel like I have had a chance to really get exposed to what is going on in today’s flamenco scene, even from as far away as London. On to the next show (for me) Friday: Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía.

(This review is for a performance that took place on Tuesday, March 19, 2013. The Flamenco festival continues through March 23rd.)

Mini-review – Abolengo – Farruquito at Sadler’s Wells 2013 Flamenco Festival

March 19, 2013

Sunday night was the opening for the second performance of Sadler’s Well’s 2013 Flamenco Festival, a program called “Abolengo” (supposedly “heritage”) starring the dancer Farruquito. In addition to three singers (Encarnita Anillo, Antinio Villar, Juan Joe Amador) and the usual backup, he had the surprising addition of a pianist (Jaime Calabuch), which at time gave things a very cool nightclub feeling, and the Mexican dancer Carmen Amaya. I was worried he might treat her as merely a filler or someone set up to make him look better, but it wasn’t the case at all: he chose someone that set him off by matching him in talent rather than by being an obviously weaker dancer. Go Farruquito, and go Carmen for your wonderful talents. (Encarnita, I’m afraid, I found too harsh … her voice grated on me about midway through her second song and while I could see that she was well in control of her notes, it just sounded like the instrument had been broken and any sweetness could no longer be found.)
Adopt one today!
Overall, the style of both Farruquito and Amaya’s dancing was very leg focused – when they danced together (as in at the beginning), there was some big arm swoops, but pretty much no gentle twists of the hands and wrists. It all felt very masculine, a feeling that wasn’t helped by the focus on speed throughout. I like my flamenco to have more buildup, but (much as it is with some men!) this performance nearly entirely avoided slower moments in favor of BANG BANG BANG spin *bounce* OLE! When Amaya did her long solo toward the end of the piece, I felt like I finally had a chance to relax and enjoy some artistry rather than just seeing flamenco stunts. Still, there was much to be said for Farruquito’s penultimate dance, “Improvisasion en una mesa.” As my companion said, “That was my kind of table dance!” And in his grand finale, my God, the man was spinning in the air and bounced off his knees – I think he gave Ivan Vasiliev a run for the money. The audience was hugely appreciative; I was happy to not be bothered with bata de cola faffing and having Amaya and Farruquito dancing together on an equal basis with a similar focus, even though, in the end, this was not the kind of flamenco I prefer – it was just too hard edged.

(This review is for a performance that took place on Sunday, March 17th, 2013. The 2013 Sadler’s Wells Flamenco Festival continues through March 27th.)

Mini-review – Ay! – Eva Yerbabuena at Sadler’s Wells Flamenco Festival 2013

March 18, 2013

On Friday night, Sadler’s Wells opened its 10th annual flamenco festival with Eva Yerbabuena. She’d decided to avoid the risk of having lesser (or worse yet better) dancers distract from her performance and did the show solo; a treat, really. Of course we had a band so plenty of time for guitar solos and songs while she rested or changed costumes; but mostly, it was her, on the stage, changing her look by adding a scarf or flipping her sleeves inside-out. The overall approach was stripped down in terms of setting as well, with decor consisting of a large chair-like thing and a table that split in half (in fact although I think it was also a metaphor). Yerbabuena drew us along for a heavy emotional ride, leaving me worn out with sadness from the dance/movement piece she did mostly broken and curled across the tabletop; but she also moved with speed and grace, as absorbing as one could hope from a skilled flamenquera who knows how to use her soul as well as her body, with accessories to add to an effect but not distract from the overall feeling.

A special highlight of this evening was the sing-off between the two male dancers that had the audience in stiches; while their song (about how messed up the world is nowadays) wasn’t too funny, apparently the people in the band were teasing them (“Sing it, fatty!”) and having a good time. Laughter and tears: you could hardly ask for a better opening performance for a flamenco festival.

(This review is for a performance that took place on Friday, March 15th, 2013. The Flamenco Festival continues through March 27th.)

Mini-review – Old Times – Harold Pinter Theater

March 15, 2013

It’s finally getting to the point where in my quest to see all plays by Pinter, I’m now starting to see plays for the second time. I have to say, I’m enjoying this. Part of it is because so many Pinter plays are so attractively short, perfect for a quick theater dip on a work night. But part of it is because I’m still attracted to the mysteries of Pinter, to the fact that when I see his shows I don’t always know what’s going on, but I get the fun of trying to work it out.

So we come to Old Times, the first Pinter play I saw done well, at the Donmar back in 2004 (how time flies!). I was more than willing to see it again at the (newly christened) Harold Pinter Theater, though I was indifferent to the “star casting” of Kristin Scott Thomas; I just wanted to see a good play.

What I got, to be sure, was a short play, and all of the words were still there like before. It was a Thomas as Anna night (with Lia Williams as the mousy and nearly silent Kate), so we had a big-smiling, lovely blond woman with lots of legs and flouncing and necklace playing. There was certainly an underlying, interconnected set of tensions: Anna’s chatter was interrupted by the occasional burst of temper from Kate’s husband Deeley (Rufus Sewell), and Kate’s taciturnity and body language seemed to indicate something was bothering her … though rather often she just seemed invisible.

As before, I found myself sucked in by the little slips in time, when Kate and Anna of yore, young girls in London, seemed to materialize for a brief moment, and their closeness and the vibrancy of their life became real. Watching it, you have to ask yourself, what happened to that? What happened to the happy Kate? What happened to the close friendship between her and Anna? I no longer believed (as I did the first time) they’d been having an affair, and my thoughts that perhaps Anna was killed by Kate (she does say she saw Anna dead) now seem just a matter of my taking one sentence too literally (as it’s immediately contradicted). But there was clearly a moment when Kate turned against Anna. Was it really so simple that Deeley is hiding an affair with with his wife’s former best friend? But … I’m still not sure. Maybe it happened in Sicily. Maybe, really, Kate was just angry at all of Deeley’s friends. The possibility that Deeley might have slept with Anna “back in the day” is there, but I wasn’t buying it. It’s all still a bit of a mystery to me.

Problematically (with getting the “right” interpretation), I felt a lack of commitment from the actors – perhaps not so surprising so late into the run; but the obvious wrongness of Anna and Deeley’s flirting while Kate bathes, and the lack of subtlety to the whole thing, just felt like … well, heavyhandedness in the face of a lack of clarity. But they also just seemed to be going to their paces. A pity, really: I recall seeing Lia Williams before and thinking how amazing she was. Maybe I need to come back on a night when she’s Anna. Or, maybe, I got my money’s worth out of my 2nd balcony restricted view seat and that’s how it goes.

(This review is for a performance that took place on Tuesday, March 12, 2013. It is booking through April 6th.)

Review – Mies Julie – Yael Farber at Riverside Studios

March 12, 2013

Not being one to travel to Edinburgh or read the New York Times‘ theater reviews (it’s just such a tease!), I wound up missing most of the pre-London hype surrounding Mies Julie, the updated version of Strindberg’s play set in modern South Africa. Even though the seriously hot posters in the Underground really caught my eye, I wasn’t going to go see a play I’d just seen last year, especially not way out west in Hammersmithville.

But then the Guardian put out a preview that really changed my mind. Thinking of that master/servant aesthetic suddenly reconfigured in the context of post-Apartheid South Africa … that’s a place where it would actually mean something. And apartheid didn’t end that long ago. In this context, being a bored, spoiled girl interested in playing with one of the servants … well, the stakes would be much, much higher than they are in my world, or in the world of a hundred and fifty years ago, when, even if you were a servant, you really could just pick up and leave and move to the big city. The original Miss Julie may have geuninely believed in her superiority to the servants, but how does it change if the people who you thought existed to serve you are now legally your equal? What if some of them have a grudge about their situation?

What if they’ve been there for a really long time and remember quite well how badly they were treated?

What if you’re actually living on their land?

Now THAT is the kind of powderkeg I wanted to see blow wide open on stage. Director/writer Yael Farber doesn’t have to make John (Bongile Mantsai) cultured and “nearly one of us;” from his accent to his body to the way he brushes boots and keeps busy doing chores every minute, he is fully “other;” but an incredibly sexy other. He has had a long relationship with the brittle, brutal Julie (Hilda Cronje, a bit one note but still charismatic), the only daughter of a Boer farmer who’s promised to put a bullet through the head of any (black) servant who dared touch her – and then shoot Julie. She’s fresh out of having her engagement broken, has a likely history of mental instability (mom committed suicide), and has the sultry, sex-focused vision of a girl just of age on a place where there’s really not a lot to do for fun. It’s inevitable that their desire will finally break down the huge barriers of class and race and history that divide them; when it does, it’s a tempest of a power that leaves King Lear’s looking like a few raindrops on an otherwise clear day. But with all of that attraction, all of that chemistry (woo! burning it up from the 20th row!), the sex just isn’t enough for them to change their lives into some new structure, no matter how much they dream. And really, just how much do they even like each other? Is John just trying to get revenge for the theft of his family’s land? Is Julie just looking for a way to frame John? Was it a mutual power trip? Is there even room for love in this tsumani?

What I love about Strindberg is that, in his plays, the games people play with each others minds never stop. Add into the mix John’s mom’s bone deep love (for John and Julie) and religious conviction (great performance by Thoko Ntshinga), the freaky spiritual connection with “home” (as represented by the ghost woman who also served, to me, as herald of impending death), and the shock-you-out-of-your-seats rawness of the sexual explosion between John and Julie and, as an audience member, you no longer know what to believe. Is this play a tragedy? Is it a political drama? Is it just the horrible truth of how fucked up people really are underneath the little skins of manners that society has us put on? That, I think, is Stringberg’s real truth, and Mies Julie hugely succeeds my making that gory, wretched, untamed core of human nature visible to the naked eye.

(This review is for a performance that took place on Sunday, March 10th, 2013. It continues at Riverside Studios through May 19th. Totally worth the trip to Hammersmith and as a bonus it’s only 80 minutes long. Phoar.)

Review – Peter and Alice – Michael Grandage company at Noel Coward Theater

March 10, 2013

GRANDAGE: So it’s going to be a season of five plays, and I thought we would mix old plays with new.
WRITER: Excellent! And we can use the star power of the big names to encourage people to see the new shows!
G: Well, just one new play, actually, but with Judi and Ben on board that will pack the house.
WRITER: Ooh ooh let’s get all meta and make them play OTHER FICTIONAL CHARACTERS. Well, real people, but fictional characters at the same time.
G: Hmm, sounds intriguing. But they only want to do ninety minutes. You can make it short, right?
WRITER: Sure, no problem! We’ll explore …
G: Make sure they each get a chance to give some nice speeches.
WRITER: Um, yeah, I can do that.
G: And it had better be some fairly intriguing fictional characters. Popular. With some in jokes about fame. The audience will love that.
WRITER: I can make the whole thing about the disjunction between fame and reality …
G: Works for me. Okay, I need to have another meetings. Get me the script by September, and a working title in time for the announcement and publicity.

And so, I imagine, was born the play that became Peter and Alice – looking good on paper (“the characters that inspire to works of children’s fiction speak to each other about their experiences”) and with seemingly everything it needed for success (money, publicity, actors who truly were skimmed from the highest echelons of the British theater scene and had done film as well so as to pull in the punters), and with a highly attractive running time that seemed guaranteed to keep Ben and Judi free to do other works on the side if they felt like it. And the house overflowethed and there was a queue around the corner waiting for returns and the standing spaces were full as well.

And … there they were, his skinniness and her lordliness (she lords rather than ladys on the stage), sort of inhabiting these recreations of Alice Liddell Hargreaves (inspiration for Alice in Wonderland) and Peter Llewelyn Davies (inspiration, or perhaps just namesake, for Peter Pan). Playwright John Logan certainly researched them, but, per the results, without ever finding a way to bring them to life. Davies certainly had many personal tragedies to endure at a young age, and Hargreaves seems to have overcome any possible inappropriate behavior from Dodgson to have become perfectly boring; both of them really suffered during World War I.

But I couldn’t really find much to grab on to in this slight work. Fantasy is more fun than reality, and we should accept our childlike natures? Book authors can be a bit odd? Celebrity doesn’t save you from misery? It almost felt like an act of desperation when Logan added Alice (of Wonderland) and Peter Pan into the mix; clearly, the lives of Alice L and Peter D themselves just didn’t have enough material to fill the evening even when the authors were added to stretch it out.

When all was said and done, my memories of this play will be watching Peter’s brother Michael commit suicide in a lake rather than face the disapproval of his guardian (as J.M. Barrie became) because of his homosexuality; and discovering that Peter had thrown himself in front of a train at Sloane Square. There really wasn’t much else, and I’m afraid for me the thrill of a Dame Judi and His Hotness Wishlaw aren’t enough to compensate for a poor script (not that if they were individually or together on stage again I wouldn’t likely still go, they are really that good). At least the tickets were 10 quid and, of course, it was all over fairly quickly (though it seemed at least thirty minutes longer than it really was). And, gosh, I kind of want to take the Wonderland bits of the set home with me. But otherwise … it was just a big, big waste of an opportunity to do something amazing. Oh well, new plays: you win some, you lose some, and at 90 minutes and 10 quid I didn’t really lose much.

(This review is for a performance that took place on Saturday, March 9th, 2013. It’s been extended to June 1st so if my review didn’t turn you off, don’t despair. Also, as with all performances in this series, “a limited number of £10 day seats will be released at 10.30am on the day of performance.”)

Review – The Trial (experiential promenade) – RETZ at Shoreditch Town Hall & other locations

March 9, 2013

I was really pleased when I heard that Retz had been recognized for their great work with a fat grant of £30K from Sky Arts; their amazing accomplishment with their six part Tempest was something I wanted to see recognized and rewarded … so I could have more really great theater to go to. The intensity and detail made it clear that it was
My reward for their largesse started last night, with a trip to the first half of their two-part, experiential/promenade The Trial. I’d had a bit of a prequel/preview the week before, at their “portal opening” party in the basement of Shoreditch Town Hall. It was a treasure trove for those who like Jasper Fforde’s Bookworld: a series of display cases each with treasures found while exploring “an alternate world of narrative,” i.e. King Lear’s crown in the Shakespeare section, a ray gun in the Science Fiction , and I swear some kind of relic from the world of the Existentialists (perhaps a vial full of gloom). After wandering around for a bit, Felix and then Yuri the Bordurian guard came up to address us and point out the portal (to the world of fiction) in the back of the room, and to announce that they were pioneering travel to this great land! I was pretty excited as for me this was The Eyre Affair come to life. But suddenly … a man came dashing through the door, from the other side! He ran up to the microphone and made an impassioned speech about how he wasn’t a fictional character, he was a real person like you or me, not some thing in the cinema or a promenade art performance … he was real! Yes, it was Josef K of Kafka’s seminal work The Trial, making a run for freedom, and I was there to see it. He dashed into the heaving mass of partygoers (followed by several security guards) and that was the last I saw of him … until yesterday.

I returned to a much changed Shoreditch town hall (now the Bureau for Information Security or something like that), and was checked in for my … was it a pre-trial hearing? I wasn’t sure. But I took a “wrong turn” (you know that you are set up to go this way) and wound up somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be … and then I began to live Josef K’s nightmare. Caught up in a security sweep, hustled off by a rent-a-thug … in some ways it felt like the way I, as an immigrant, have always expected to be treated. Silent rooms, unhelpful lawyers, whispered secrets about the particular wordings you might be able to use to convince the implacable authorities to finally apply “the law” in a way that worked in your favor … I was swept from one location to another, told tall tales, and finally met Josef K … neither of us able to control our fates. A surprised teenager on a phone peered at me from their car as I was hustled by, local guys fresh from prayer watched us bemusedly, but as always, no one dared to interfere, or even speak. To not see is to protect yourself, and I had suddenly become one of the invisible.

My next trial is set for early April. I will report back … if I survive. (LATER: here is the review of the second half.)

(This review is for a performance that took place on Friday, March 8th, 2013. The similarity of this experience and that of trying to get UKBA to look favorably on my various applications for permission to work and reside in this country are not to be overlooked, nor the fact that I am about to throw myself upon them for the final mercy or killing in the next seven days. Wear clothing suitable for walking, bring an umbrella and a cell phone, and do yourself a favor and bring enough money for a pint at the Howl at the Moon Pub, as you will find yourself nearby and my their cider is tasty.)

Review – In the Beginning was the End – dreamthinkspeak at Somerset House / National Theater

March 5, 2013

Some time ago I read a review for a promenade show taking place at Somerset House under the auspices of the National Theater, and I booked tickets for it in part because I was interested in getting to see a bit more of the structure of this historic building (but also because I like promenades). And then, as I do, I totally forgot what it was about, only that it had sounded interesting at the time, but suddenly a little bit less so when I realized the other 8 people going in with me were a bunch of 16 year old girls who seemed REALLY WOUND UP.

The promenade seemed to have four main areas, which provided a sort of experiential trip through the life of a company: the initial phase of excitement and research (with charming laboratory spaces, including one in which a mad, Spanish speaking scientist-type showed us how lemons could generate enough electricity to make a tiny diode glow); the peak of innovation and organization (four rooms with different inventions shown off by Spanish, German, and French speaking people in lab coats – I’ll note that the actual Teasmade does a lot better than just drop a cube of sugar into a cup); the disillusionment (a series of offices showing semi-functional equipment and a scene in which people forced to write letters of apology lose their tempers at their micromanaging boss and strip to show, I imagine, how little they cared for the values or conformity she was trying to enforce – it was very “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”); the collapse (hinted suicides of employees; managers literally signing deals that resulted in them going “underwater,” complete with a fishtank showing little statues of said executives with goldfish – cute!; hugely disfunctional versions of the products shown in the second section); and then, well, a sort of paradise in the form of an arbor lit by lemon-powered lights (real lemons, but the lights were actually plain old fairy lights). I thought it was all a nice journey, lots of work put into tying the various scenes together, and a thoughtful experience of modern corporate culture that I personally related to.

BUT. But but but but. The entire evening was nearly utterly ruined by the wretched, immature, shrieking, giggling teenaged girls who has apparently NEVER SEEN NAKED PEOPLE BEFORE and let’s be honest started off the ngiht SCREAMING AND JUMPING OUT OF THEIR CHAIRS when the lights went off in the first room. Where the fuck were the people who were supposed to be supervising them? Whoever thought it was appropriate for them to see this show? YES it’s fine for 16 year olds to see naked people but because they were IN THE SAME ROOM and only a few feet away from them the girls were SHRIEKING and going, “Oh my god, weenies!” and being utter and complete tits. It was just shit. I had to get away from the group I was with and find a different path to experience it without their stupidity (only to find a different group of the same age – they complained about the people speaking foreign languages they couldn’t understand) but it just didn’t seem possible to get away until the purgatorio section before the very end.

Jesus fucking Christ. Hello, National Theater? No more school groups for this show. It ain’t fucking working. And girls? The next time you see a dude naked, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll be wishing he looked as good as ANY of the actors who were performing, with incredible aplomb, at Somerset house last night.

(This review is for a performance that took place on Monday, March 4th, 2013. It’s going through March 30th. I suggest you try to go to later shows so this does not happen to you; my time was 6:45. 9 PM might be MUCH better. I took 1:15 to complete the rounds. No need to wear heavy coats; the space is not cold.)