Thursday, 24 April 2014

Last 10 things seen at the theatre: #053

6th to 23rd April.

List the last 10 things you saw at the theatre in order:
1. Hamlet (Shakespeare's Globe)
2. The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable (Punchdrunk)
3. The Weir (Wyndham's)
4. The Silver Tassie (National; Lyttelton)
5. The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable (Punchdrunk)
6. Henry IV Part 2 (Royal Shakespeare Theatre)
7. Henry IV Part 1 (Royal Shakespeare Theatre)
8. The Roaring Girl (Swan Theatre)
9. The Winter's Tale (Royal Opera House)
10. The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable (Punchdrunk)

Who was the best performer in number one (Hamlet)?
In a cast featuring the likes of Keith Bartlett and John Dougall and Tom Lawrence, among others, it seems like it might be an impossible task to choose one single best performer. However, when a cast also features Beruce Khan and his magical face and top-notch background acting, the task becomes significantly easier. I shall miss them all as they roam the world for the next two years.

Why did you go to see number two (The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable)?
My last visit was so ridiculously overcrowded that even though I largely managed to stick to my plans and had a pretty great evening, I felt ratty and angry the entire time. I really like it when I can see the show without 500 incredibly tall people crowding me out of every room, and I was aware that Easter Sunday wasn't selling anything like as well, so I went for it. I'm sure Jesus doesn't mind.

Can you remember a line/lyric from number three (The Weir) that you liked?
Well, I've read the play countless times and seen it before, but never have I been quite so emotionally affected by Jack's second story as I was this time. For all its comparative mundanity, it is arguably the most haunting segment of the entire play. I'll spare you and won't type the whole thing out, but I will give you the two sentences from it that hit me hardest: "And she looked at me like I was only another guest at the wedding" and "I'll tell you - there's not one morning I don't wake up with her name in the room." SHUT UP, I'M NOT CRYING, YOU'RE CRYING.

What would you give number four (The Silver Tassie) out of ten?
I couldn't tell you. It was the most baffling thing I've ever seen. I'm pretty sure I enjoyed it a great deal, but I'm unutterably BAFFLED by the whole affair.

Was there someone hot in number five (The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable)?
AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. ... wait, you were serious? But look at the cast!... okay, fine. I mean, this sort of thing does depend largely on which performers are on at any given time, and a lot of my favourites weren't there, but my all-time number one Adam Burton was there, and he was looking exceptionally gloriously moustachioed. I will also mention Ed Warner here, even though I still can't quite work out if I'm attracted to him or terrified of him. Almost certainly both. Damn you, Punchdrunk.

What was number six (Henry IV Part 2) about?
It was about all the things Henry IV Part 2 is usually about, but played as an extremely broad and simplistic comedy with needlessly stupid people. So actually not really about all the things Henry IV Part 2 is usually about at all.

Who was your favourite actor in number seven (Henry IV Part 1)?
I'll admit I went into this with certain reservations. Between the last RSC production and the Globe production, all subsequent productions have a LOT to live up to. This one didn't really manage it, for an array of reasons, but nonetheless I was very pleased with the fine job done by Alex Hassell.

What was your favourite bit in number eight (The Roaring Girl)?
The delightful flip of the coat-tails at the end of Sebastian's feigned flounce from the room. That was pretty much the high point of the entire production.

Would you see number nine (The Winter's Tale) again?
Maybe! I mean, I've got a bunch of other stuff to go and see, but from the perspective of one who doesn't really see ballet very often but loves The Winter's Tale a great deal as a play, I thought it was fantastic.

What was the worst thing about number ten (The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable)?
Oh this needs to stop being the show that goes with this question! If I get into nitpickery, I could say that trying to make advance plans came awfully close to going wrong and left me a little too rudderless for a little too long, or I could comment on certain cast members maybe not being fully rehearsed in their roles (which I would NEVER DO, because what I saw of them was unbelievably delightful anyway!), but I came out of the studios BUZZING and frankly, after loop 3, may never stop. I think... the very worst thing about The Drowned Man this time is that I have now experienced every single joyful moment provided by my favourite character and therefore have to admit to myself that it is finally time to stop following him. Conrad Scherer, I SHALL miss you. But I really couldn't have asked for a more perfect casting situation for my final time with you. You were wonderful too.

Which was best?
The Weir was great. I worried that the humour had been a little too broadened and some of the performances had been a little too exaggerated on transferring it to the West End, but everyone still managed to quieten down for the key moments, which were all the more effective for the contrast.

Which was worst?
The Roaring Girl was not great. I'm also still angry about aspects of Henry IV Part 2, but I suppose that's always likely to be an issue for anyone who likes Part 2 better but has quite particular Falstaff requirements (ie he needs to be played WELL).

Did any make you cry?
Oh gosh yes! I wept at The Weir (THANKS, Brian Cox, THANKS), and I was in proper floods at The Winter's Tale. It's always important for me that the bear is played as redemption rather than punishment, and I'm emotionally over-invested in the Sicilians anyway, so yes, floods. I wept once at The Drowned Man because the character I was following was just so sad (because of Burton), and once because the actor was so damned good at what he was doing (Burton again), and I spent the third trip wanting to cry in fear but managing to hold it in (Burton AGAIN). I think I need to plan all future Drowned Man trips less around actors I want to follow and more around actors I haven't already followed to death (or studio 8, haha).

Did any make you laugh?
I laughed my backside off at Hamlet. Sometimes it was being genuinely hilarious, and other times it was just Beruce Khan doing what he does, but there was a lot of laughter. There was a lot of knowing laughter from certain pockets of the audience during the fourth part of The Silver Tassie, which included me.

Which roles would you like to play in any of them?
I would like to be part of a Globe touring production. They always make it look such fun. If I could dance well enough to be in The Drowned Man, I think I would specifically like to play Faye and the Drugstore Girl.

Which one did you have best seats for?
I don't know about "best", but I sat in a peculiar little nest-type seat in the balcony for The Weir. It wasn't especially comfortable, but it was delightful for being isolated and the view was great. I have booked that seat for future visits to the Wyndham's, and I look forward to continuing to do so. I know one doesn't sit down, so much, for The Drowned Man, but I did decide I would sit in the saloon for a while one night, and this decision turned out to be a superb one, so probably counts here.

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