Posts Tagged ‘Royal Court Jerwood’

Mini-review – Jerusalem – Royal Court Jerwood Theatre

August 8, 2009

Jerusalem is a very long play, and with 3 1/4 hours of play to discuss, and what with it being sold out, I find myself more attracted to brevity in writing about it as a change of pace. Jerusalem is what the Scottish Peer Gynt wishes it had been: a long visit with a trailer-dwelling rascal that never wears out its welcome. Rooster, the lead character, is a late-middle-age tomcat who makes a living dealing drugs and going on the occasional house-painting expedition, as required by local housewives; he’s earned the ire of nearly every person in town. Yet despite this, he’s not a bad character, though thankfully not a “lovable rogue.” He likes to party, but he’s no hypocrite, and despite the underaged shenanigans going on around him, he keeps his hands off the teenaged girls and really “gets” that what they’re doing is pretty much what kids have always been doing.

Though there’s certainly a plot to this play, to me it seemed far more about character, and creating a place and time that seemed very real (and very modern Somerset, if I’m not mistaken). I liked how real the players seemed, and enjoyed having an opportunity to hear some different voices on stage – and a more realistic depiction of life outside of Lodon than I usually see. While I don’t think there’s enough to it to make it a classic and doubt it will get revived, it was certainly worth seeing and a good night out. (Also, the sight of two teenaged girls leaping over chairs and couches to get at lines of coke is one I won’t soon forget.)

Review – Now or Later – Royal Court Jerwood

October 28, 2008

Just saw a fantastic play at the Royal Court Jerwood, Now or Later by Christopher Shinn – a play which is receiving a world premiere at this venue (or did a month ago). Wow! When do new plays ever hit the ground this topical and this good? It’s set on election night in America, where the Democratic candidate’s son is holed up in his hotel room watching election results with his best college buddy. As the results come in, news of a scandal is unfolding – pictures of the son dressed as Mohammed at a campus party are showing up on the internet. Will he apologize for being offensive? Will he stand up for his right for political expression? Will his dad ever actually talk to him? Will anyone treat him like he’s something other than a tool his parents use to further his father’s political career?

I had never been to the Royal Court before (the plush seats reminded me of sitting in my dad’s ’69 Pontiac Bonneville, if it had had a brown interior instead of a white one), and starting off our relationship with this play was really just setting up a standard I can only hope the Jerwood can maintain. Eddie Redmayne (as John Junior) was very good, though he had a bit of a strange American accent and seemed to be playing up the mental instability a bit. Nancy Crane, as mom, really had the plasticky-fakeness of politicians down straight. John Senior (Matthew Marsh) seemed to be trying to hard to come off as a “type” (the way he was wiggling his hand by his side just seemed like something he’d seen on TV but not managed to make seem natural for his character), but as he slid into his interaction with John Junior the two of them were positively electrifying, rather like watching the climactic scene of Frost/Nixon. Never have 75 minutes gone by so fast.

I was referred to this by the WestEnd Whingers (really just the best theater blog out there if you’re looking for hot tips for shows to see, or warnings for turkeys), and I am really grateful to them for pointing me in the very, very right direction. Its brevity made it a play that was easy to squeeze into a weekday evening, yet good enough that it managed to lighten my mood after a rather crummy day at work. It’s been extended to November 1st, though tickets are a bit hard to get – try SeeTickets as the venue has almost no availability. It’s your last chance – see it while it’s hot!