Posts Tagged ‘London theater reviews’

Contains Violence – Lyric Hammersmith

April 14, 2008

Short review, as I’m still too cold to do much but hover near the radiator.

We just spent an hour and a half sitting in the cold with headphones and raincoats on, watching four actors perform in two well lit offices across the street and hoping to God it didn’t start raining as it would have quickly soaked through our trousers and we were already more than cold enough.

Summary: good concept, weak script, bad acting. I think the actors had just lost their connection with the audience – not too surprising given that we were almost a city block away. Watching them through the binoculars was entirely ungratifying – they didn’t seem to be doing anything more than going through the motions. So even though the technical execution was quite good, it was really not worth sitting outside that long in 9°/48° weather to watch. Minkette’s “Train of Thought” was a million times more fun and engaging, and the acting was better, too.

(This review is for a performance that took place Monday, April 14th, 2008. It did not do anything more than think about sprinkling during the show, but that was plenty in my book.)

Reviews – Ramayana (Lyric Hammersmith) and American Ballet Theater mixed rep (La Bayadere, Drink to Me Only, Fancy Free – Sadler’s Wells)

February 15, 2007

Last night we went to see The Ramayana at the Hammersmith Lyric. J thought it was much more “on” as a high-fairy-tale show than His Dark Materials and hit the notes right. I liked its imaginative set and use of theatrical devices to convey literal impossibilities (i.e. someone jumping across an ocean). It seemed a bit dry, though; the costumes seemed a bit on the cheap or something. And, to tell the truth, in this age in which religious intolerance is running so high, I found the constant slamming of “them dirty godless (Buddhist) materialists down south” grating, and was pretty well mortified when Sita immolated herself at the end to prove to her heartless husband her love for him stayed true no matter what had happened to her body. Thinking of all the women burned on pyres in the practice of “suttee” just depressed me. That said, overall a very good show, and since first week’s tickets were £9, also a great deal if you like watching these kind of stylized stories on stage.

Tonight was what was supposed to be our Valentine’s day date, a trip to see American Ballet Theater at Sadler’s Wells. (I got the dates wrong so I wound up seeing two shows instead – naughty me, huh?) It was a three-part show, with La Bayadere (guy goes to the land of the shades to dance with his girlfriend – very 1870, pretty with white tutus), a Mark Morris piece (“Drink to me Only,” lighter with better movement) and Jerome Robbin’s classic Fancy Free, a typical end-the-show-hoot with boys in sailor suits flirting with saucy 40s girls, complete with high kicks and purse fights. We enjoyed the evening but someone’s still got some jet lag and, er, someone else can feel the long day at work and previous late night slowing her down.

(The Ramayana was seen February 14th, 2007 and the American Ballet was seen February 15th, 2007.)