Monday, 5 May 2014

Last 10 things seen at the theatre: #054

25th April to 3rd May.

List the last 10 things you saw at the theatre in order:
1. The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable (Punchdrunk)
2. Debris (Southwark Playhouse)
3. Birdland (Royal Court)
4. An Intervention (Watford Palace)
5. The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable (Punchdrunk)
6. Three Sisters (Southwark Playhouse)
7. Venice Preserv'd (Paynes and Borthwick Wharf)
8. Titus Andronicus (Shakespeare's Globe)
9. A View from the Bridge (Young Vic)
10. Translations (Rose Kingston)

Who was the best performer in number one (The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable)?
I'm deeply sorry, but I'm really not in a place to be able to answer this one objectively. It's basically impossible to be able to observe all the cast during a single show, unless you count the finale, and most of them really are utterly superb at what they do, and I attach myself very strongly emotionally to very particular characters as played by particular performers, and I'm uncomfortably aware that I'm becoming (more accurately: have become) obsessed with one of these, so I really CAN'T answer it objectively.

Why did you go to see number two (Debris)?
I believe I enjoy Dennis Kelly as a writer (still not sure about the ending of Prince of Homburg), and I couldn't fault the running time. It's a strange contradiction that the people who love the theatre best are the ones who are happiest with a 70 minute running time but, y'know, I spend enough time in theatres as it is. Small but perfectly formed is WAY better than bloated beyond all reason, amirite?!

Can you remember a line/lyric from number three (Birdland) that you liked?
Well, I really liked Jenny's explanation for why she fell out of love with numbers, and with the help of the £3 playtext that is such a delightful staple of the Royal Court, I shall recount it for you now: "I always thought numbers were very solid and certain things and it turns out they really aren't. They're actually incredibly unstable. Because they're entirely relative. The number 2 only makes sense in relation to number 1 which only makes sense in relation to the number 38,000,000 with only makes sense in relation to the number 8.4357295. And so on. As soon as one number is destabilised everything falls apart". I just love listening to smart people talk effortlessly about things that I can never hope to understand. It's pretty awesome.

What would you give number four (An Intervention) out of ten?
Ooh, let's give it an 8! I basically work out the star rating for this question then double it to get a mark out of ten - 8 is equivalent to 4, which means "see it, enjoy it, recommend it to your friends!". Except it's a bit late to recommend it now, sorry.

Was there someone hot in number five (The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable)?
OH NOT AGAIN. ALL OF THEM, OKAY? ALL OF THEM. But especially - having given it further consideration - Ed Warner, to whom I am definitely attracted, and the much longed for James Traherne! He sings! He dances! He is sunshine, he is light! He is eight feet tall, and eighty per cent of that is legs! But! Most importantly! He is DEFINITELY older than early 20s!

What was number six (Three Sisters) about?
Well, I believe it was about a collection of people, who were siblings, and none of whom were brothers, and who numbered greater than two but fewer than four. Except it's a misleading title really, because there is a brother. I guess there just weren't enough lightbulbs in 1901 Moscow for the more accurate title - Three Sisters, One Brother, His Wife, A Couple Of Elderly Retainers, All Their Friends, And More Besides.

Who was your favourite actor in number seven (Venice Preserv'd)?
For all manner of reasons, this could not possibly be anyone other than Ferdinand Kingsley. You have to be pretty great at what you do to get someone like to me to stop laughing every time the word "Doge" is mentioned.

What was your favourite bit in number eight (Titus Andronicus)?
Just when you thought all the madness that could possibly happen had happened, and nothing could be left but the final conclusion, Lucius did something delightfully unexpected and I knew that - despite some of the madness being distracting from the actual play - the production had managed to win me over.

Would you see number nine (A View from the Bridge) again?
Sure! Great play, fantastic production, amazing performers, what's not to wish to revisit? Shame it's sold out for the rest of the run. (By the by, have you ever tried picking up a chair like that? You really should, it makes every production of the play MUCH more impressive if you have personal experience and aren't just reading the difficulty level from the clues given by the text.)

What was the worst thing about number ten (Translations)?
I was pretty upset by the end. English Touring Theatre are having an extremely good year, and I enjoyed this one a positively enormous amount. I could've stood to be in that world a lot longer than I ultimately was.

Which was best?
Well, I'd have to say Translations, even though I might get hounded for not putting A View from the Bridge higher. It was awesome too, but Translations just got me more.

Which was worst?
I feel mean, but Venice Preserv'd just had a bit too much faff for me to be able to engage with the play properly. As did Titus Andronicus, if we're being fair, but at least I already know the play so moments of disengagement were a frustration rather than a serious impediment.

Did any make you cry?
Oh heck yeah, I finally followed Faye in The Drowned Man and wept just as much as I suspected I would, and Translations had me weeping with joy before it settled down to just plain ol' weeping.

Did any make you laugh?
I've laughed a lot at The Drowned Man recently. The Barman has become a source of unending joy, and even Stanford is delightful when played by Traherne. Debris had some funny bits, An Intervention was great, Titus Andronicus was HILARIOUS, and Translations was also funny when not heartrending. (I should probably also point out that Venice Preserv'd had MANY mentions of the Doge. Much meme, very laughter, wow.)

Which roles would you like to play in any of them?
In addition to Faye and the Drugstore Girl, I think I'd have a lot of fun playing Alice in The Drowned Man. I think if I were one of the Three Sisters, I'd be an Olga, which doesn't not work for me. And while I may not be a Lavinia type or a Tamora type, by jiminy, Titus Andronicus must be fun to do in ANY capacity.

Which one did you have best seats for?
Good seats were had for Debris and Birdland.

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