Monday, 14 March 2011

Last 10 things seen at the theatre: #002

Hello! I'm very much afraid that life is still getting in the way of reviewing. However, it's not getting in the way of theatre trips, so out comes this meme again. The last 10 trips seem to have gone by very quickly!

List the last 10 things you saw at the theatre in order:
1. Mogadishu (Lyric Hammersmith)
2. Richard II (Tobacco Factory)
3. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Royal Opera House)
4. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Donmar Warehouse)
5. Flare Path (Theatre Royal Haymarket)
6. Goodnight Mister Tom (tour @ Wycombe Swan)
7. Antony and Cleopatra (Swan Theatre)
8. Frankenstein (National; Olivier)
9. Greenland (National; Lyttelton)
10. Twelfth Night (National; Cottesloe)

Who was the best performer in number one (Mogadishu)?
They were all fantastic. I don't know what's going on this year, but I keep seeing ridiculously talented and self-assured casts made up of large numbers of young people. I think it's a toss-up between Malachi Kirby and Shannon Tarbet, for their almost scary ability to exhibit toughness, vulnerability, and damage.

Why did you go to see number two (Richard II)?
It's a History. Starring John Heffernan. I don't like travelling more than about 80 miles maximum for the theatre, but for John Heffernan as Richard II, I'm willing to make one heck of an exception. And it was supremely wonderful. All the cool kids know Richard II is the play to be in!

Can you remember a line/lyric from number three (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland) that you liked?
I went to see this with a friend who knows this meme, and he turned to me at the interval and said I would probably have to answer this question with this production next time I did it. And lo, he was right. I'm ever so sorry, but as a new ballet, this was a non-verbal performance, and thus I am unable to answer this question.

What would you give number four (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) out of ten?
8! I love Spelling Bee and this was a fine fine production. I can't believe it's been four years since I first saw it.

Was there someone hot in number five (Flare Path)?
I cannot tell a lie. I have an extreme crush on Clive Wood. I was very pleased to see him back onstage. And the uniform was a delicious military-clad icing on the cake of three years anticipation.

What was number six (Goodnight Mister Tom) about?
Two broken, lonely people finding and healing each other against the backdrop of the Second World War.

Who was your favourite actor in number seven (Antony and Cleopatra)?
Katy Stephens is one of my favourite performers generally speaking, so I can't tell you how thrilling it was to see her in action as the infinitely variable queen. I hope one day she gets a production of this play that is genuinely all hers from the beginning, and that she gets an actor who can successfully portray both the fighter and the lover side of Antony.

What was your favourite bit in number eight (Frankenstein)?
If we're interpreting "bit" as "scene", then pretty much everything between the rolling around on the ground at the beginning to the burning of the cottage. (The production is fairly true to the original book, so don't go sulking about spoilers. We're nearly 200 years beyond that now!) If we're interpreting "bit" as "aspect of the production", then the lighting. My god, the lighting!

Would you see number nine (Greenland) again?
No. It was a bold attempt, but ultimately not a success. Maybe parts of it can be taken and restructured into something more worthy, but Greenland should probably sink gracefully into the archives.

What was the worst thing about number ten (Twelfth Night)?
It was such a ridiculously safe production that it was ultimately very very dull. This play is all about loss and has so many fantastic undercurrents of sexual confusion that it's a real shame to see someone present it as a bog-standard, straightforward comedy.

Which was best?
Flare Path, Richard II, and Mogadishu.

Which was worst?
Greenland. I'm sorry, Greenland, but you just weren't good.

Did any make you cry?
I may or may not have sobbed at Frankenstein. I may or may not have welled up at Goodnight Mister Tom. I may or may not have wept at Flare Path. There may or may not have been the occasional sniffle at The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Hearts may or may not have been broken at Richard II. Possibly I'm just feeling a little extra-sensitive this month.

Did any make you laugh?
Flare Path, Spelling Bee, Alice, Richard, and Mogadishu.

Which roles would you like to play in any of them?
I'm dying to play Viola and/or Olivia and/or Maria and/or Feste in Twelfth Night. I'd certainly love to have a crack at Cleopatra one day. Olive or Logainne in Spelling Bee would be amazing. And I don't care what role, I'd just love to be involved in a production of Richard II.

Which one did you have best seats for?
Oh, Mogadishu without a doubt! A brilliant stalls seat. Close enough to see the nervous sweats, but not so close that I was unable to appreciate the entirety of the staging.

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