Monday, 22 July 2013

Last 10 things seen at the theatre: #038

28th June to 21st July.

List the last 10 things you saw at the theatre in order:
1. Dark Vanilla Jungle (Soho)
2. Twelfth Night (Hampstead)
3. The Taming of the Shrew (Hampstead)
4. Macbeth (Manchester International Festival)
5. Measure for Measure (Union)
6. The Hothouse (Trafalgar Studio 1)
7. The Moment of Truth (Southwark Playhouse)
8. Othello (National; Olivier)
9. The Drowned Man (Punchdrunk)
10. Pinter Shorts (Trafalgar Studio 1)

Who was the best performer in number one (Dark Vanilla Jungle)?
Of all members of the large and varied cast, I suppose I am going to have to go for Gemma Whelan, who was utterly dedicated and superb and intense. Also I was lying about the large and varied cast, it was a one-woman show. A bloody good one though.

Why did you go to see number two (Twelfth Night)?
Once a year, I go to Swiss Cottage for Shakespeare and Sushi Saturday with an old school friend. We do the Propeller double bill and eat sushi and marvel that we're still not dead yet. I'd've gone even if I had no friends and hated sushi though, I love Shakespeare and I love Propeller and I especially love Twelfth Night.

Can you remember a line/lyric from number three (The Taming of the Shrew) that you liked?
No. There are, if you'll allow me to use video game fan terminology, Good Ending Shrews and there are Bad Ending Shrews, and while recent years have provided me with several excellent productions of the play, the word "liked" is wholly inappropriate when applied to a Bad Ending Shrew such as this was. Oy, such a tricky play. I'm looking forward to seeing last year's Globe's Good Ending Shrew at the cinema in a week, that should help exorcise the emotional traumas of recent weeks...

What would you give number four (Macbeth) out of ten?
For sheer production values and some excellent performances, an 8. Yes, I'm very indiscriminate with my 8s. For personal preference reasons, I preferred the Globe production, but I really couldn't resist the rain and the mud and the 276 candles and the flames and the blood and the Terry King swordfights and all those wonderful beards. Those poor sweaty bearded sweating men.

Was there someone hot in number five (Measure for Measure)?
Isabella was extremely pretty but none of 'em really floated my boat. Possibly I was too overexcited by the knowledge of forthcoming Scottish beards.

What was number six (The Hothouse) about?
If you ever figure it out, please let me know. I am, for the record, reasonably convinced that Gibbs is an evil genius who masterminded EVERYTHING.

Who was your favourite actor in number seven (The Moment of Truth)?
Damnit, I did love Miles Richardson an awful lot, and not even because I'm naturally biased towards former members of the RSC Histories ensemble.

What was your favourite bit in number eight (Othello)?
Sometimes, popular and/or critical opinion and myself are a little out of step, and where the majority see wholly excellent, I see very worthy but actually a little dull. I'd rather enjoy a flawed production than be impressed by a brilliant but un-fun one. Sooo... can I pass on this one?

Would you see number nine (The Drowned Man) again?
HELL to the YES! Though prices are so pricey.

What was the worst thing about number ten (Pinter Shorts)?
There was that awkward moment when I lost my ticket and couldn't find it ANYWHERE and it turned out I'd dropped it on the floor and someone had put it conspicuously on a table so I could find it again but it was heartstopping before I noticed it on the table. Which is a long-winded way of saying it was a truly excellent evening and I'm super-glad I was able to squeeze it in.

Which was best?
I'm going with Twelfth Night! I have very firm opinions on the play and though this was still not the version I have in my head (oh but the version in my head is wonderful!), it was more than acceptable to my fevered little brain. Act 2 scene 4 is the key scene that lets me know if the director and I are in sync with how the whole play is, and it was GLORIOUS.

Which was worst?
And then sometimes I do go with the majority - The Moment of Truth started off very promisingly but was rather too dull by the rather too long-winded end.

Did any make you cry?
Twelfth Night. The man next to me gave me funny looks during 2.4, I was apparently quivering with emotion a little too much. It was GLORIOUS DAMNIT. The Taming of the Shrew also, and The Drowned Man. The funny thing about Punchdrunk productions is the way they make me feel as though the audience members are all the ghosts who have ever been, and I had a one-to-one experience with a performer that left me weeping and feeling as though I knew exactly who I as a ghost had been when I was alive. It was very peculiar, very intense, and very moving.

Did any make you laugh?
Twelfth Night, The Taming of the Shrew, The Hothouse, and Pinter Shorts.

Which roles would you like to play in any of them?
I have a list of Five Female Shakespeare Characters I Would Most Like To Play. As I have now played number 3 on the list, I'm bumping up Olivia into the five. Though I'd love to have a crack at Viola. And, indeed, Feste and Orsino. I don't know if I could handle anyone in Shrew, coming as I am off the back of two deeply disturbing Bad Ending Shrews, but I'd probably have a go given the opportunity. And speaking of deeply disturbing, maybe I wouldn't want to be in Macbeth, Measure for Measure, or Othello but again, I'd seriously consider it if the circumstances arose. I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm pretty much a massive sucker for Shakespeare.

Which one did you have best seats for?
Friends, I shit you not, I was genuinely in a VIP seat for Macbeth. I had to pick the ticket up from a special table and everything. Front row, near the centre, flanked by the likes of Derek Jacobi and Maxine Peake (in the row in front of them if you want to be specific!), and sweated on repeatedly by actors. It was one of the more unusual experiences of my life. Similarly positioned seats but nowhere near as top quality were had at Twelfth Night, The Taming of the Shrew, and The Moment of Truth.

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