Friday, 27 June 2014

Last 10 things seen at the theatre: #057

7th to 26th June.

List the last 10 things you saw at the theatre in order:
1. Henry IV Part 2 (Royal Shakespeare Theatre)
2. Henry IV Part 1 (Royal Shakespeare Theatre)
3. The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable (Punchdrunk)
4. Wonderland (Hampstead)
5. The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable (Punchdrunk)
6. California Suite 2 (St James Studio)
7. The Merchant of Venice (Stubbings)
8. The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable (Punchdrunk)
9. Good People (Noël Coward)
10. A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare's Globe)

Who was the best performer in number one (Henry IV Part 2)?
I'm sticking with Sam Marks for his delightful Poins, as one of the most consistent performers across the two plays.

Why did you go to see number two (Henry IV Part 1)?
Father-Daughter Shakespeare Day.

Can you remember a line/lyric from number three (The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable) that you liked?
There was a wonderful moment in the lift after studio executive Luna Fortune had just sent the first batch of audience members out into the basement. Closing the lift doors, she advised the nearest mask-wearing audience member to "mind your beak", and those of us remaining couldn't help it, we all erupted into delighted laughter. (Maybe you had to be there.) Luna is THE BEST studio executive. I also followed the most delightfully chatty Drugstore Girl in the world, but I would be here all day if I were to recount all the marvellous things she said to me.

What would you give number four (Wonderland) out of ten?
I'm going with 8. I don't wonder if the play itself might benefit from a trim, or perhaps a little tightening of focus, but I loved the production and the performances an AWFUL lot. The set, lighting, and sound design in particular were exceptionally stunning.

Was there someone hot in number five (The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable)?
Ohhhhhhhhh yes. I only really followed two characters, who were both played by extremely attractive gentlemen (James Finnemore and Nico Migliorati respectively), but there was plenty of bumping occasionally into other extremely attractive people (including Stephanie Nightingale and Leslie Kraus, who are absolutely two of the most attractive ladies in the cast, not that it's easy to rank when the entire cast is so attractive. Have I said "attractive" a creepy number of times yet?).

What was number six (California Suite 2) about?
It was about suite number 203 in an unspecified hotel in Los Angeles, and the people who stay in it. It was also about seeing how many excellent facial expressions can come from one extremely handsome face. Quite a lot, it turns out!

Who was your favourite actor in number seven (The Merchant of Venice)?
Oh. It was another local production, where names wouldn't mean anything to you. Sorry. But this production featured three generations of the same family, and they were all splendid. I'm also very amused that I have now seen two of the very best Shakespearean actors in this area, one male and one female, play the same role.

What was your favourite bit in number eight (The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable)?
As we draw near to the end times, I'm currently working on making sure I've seen as much as possible. So this trip was all about rummaging through the sets and hanging out in the drafting studio where there's lots of behind-the-scenes information. I don't think I'll ever do a "rummaging only" evening at a Punchdrunk show ever again, because I really really missed the emotional connections you get with the characters. I got about 80% of the way through the show then decided I couldn't possibly rummage any longer because I was absolutely hating not having spent time with any characters (apart from a couple of brief scenes near the beginning of the show, which were admittedly excellent, and Phoebe, who I just find impossible to engage with), and so I ended up following Miguel (AGAIN) until the end of the show because I wanted hoedown and couldn't think of anyone else that would get me hoedown and not leave me wishing I'd followed them for longer. Which turned out to be an EXCELLENT call, as I then got to pour water all over his (ridiculously exceptionally handsome) head and see a whole scene I'd never seen before! I hadn't realised that "pouring water over a super-attractive dancer" was a thing that was missing from my life, and I very much enjoyed making that discovery and ticking it off the list all at once.

Would you see number nine (Good People) again?
Sure! Imelda Staunton is AMAZING, and there were bits of the script that hammered home AWFULLY.

What was the worst thing about number ten (A Midsummer Night's Dream)?
It was absolutely unquestionably the journey into London. I got stuck behind a horse-drawn funeral procession which made me arrive at the station a LOT later than I'd planned, and there was a rail replacement bus that should have got me there on time but was also exceptionally stuck in traffic. I was absolutely ASTOUNDED to arrive in the yard just in the nick of time for the play, but I was so stressed and hot and sweaty that it took me a while to relax enough to enjoy the show. It didn't help that I was stood directly in blazing sunlight for the entire first half either. Sunny weather is NOT the best Globe weather. (The play itself was delightful, made all the more-so by its abbreviated nature, meaning some of the more tedious moments just didn't happen, and all the moments that did happen were just plain wonderful.)

Which was best?
I'm tired, can I just say The Drowned Man?

Which was worst?
I'm still spitting feathers about some of the things that were done to Henry IV Part 2.

Did any make you cry?
Henry IV Part 1 did, The Drowned Man did, and that's probably it, actually.

Did any make you laugh?
I laughed so much at my last trip to The Drowned Man. And, indeed, the trip before too. Probably giggled some at the Henry IVs, and California Suite, and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Which roles would you like to play in any of them?
Hmmm. No new roles have sprung to my attention as being especially desirable. There is the interesting possibility of perhaps involved in a production of Henry IV Part 1 next year, though that's still unconfirmed at this time. It's exciting that it's even being considered though, NO ONE does the Histories round here!

Which one did you have best seats for?
Haha, The Merchant of Venice was technically the dress rehearsal so I had ALL THE SEATS to myself essentially. I also set up camp on a seat in the drugstore at The Drowned Man, and as always seems to happen when I decide to sit down in a particular place with no real agenda, I had a LOVELY time.

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