Sunday, 1 November 2015

Last 10 things seen at the theatre: #083

18th to 31st October.

List the last 10 things you saw at the theatre in order:
1. The Hairy Ape (Old Vic)
2. Hamlet (Barbican)
3. Richard III (Rose Kingston)
4. Edward IV (Rose Kingston)
5. Henry VI (Rose Kingston)
6. Henry V (Royal Shakespeare Theatre)
7. The Father (Wyndham's)
8. Photograph 51 (Noël Coward)
9. The Smallest Show on Earth (Wycombe Swan)
10. Richard II (Shakespeare's Globe)

Who was the best performer in number one (The Hairy Ape)?
Bertie Carvel. I mean, yes, he was the lead, and had more to work with than the rest, but he was also the best, so.

Why did you go to see number two (Hamlet)?
I didn't want to see it. I've seen enough Hamlets, I like Cumberbatch but not that much, and the idea of booking tickets over a year before a show even opens still fills me with horror (I have as yet not even tried booking Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and I harbour resentment towards The Entertainer for suckering me in somehow). The supporting cast was filled with people who are good but not people who are, for me, unmissable. And I was unsuccessful with the £10 ticket ballot, so had written off the whole idea of going, even to a cinema screening. Then I got an email from the Barbican advising that they were working on sightlines and would be releasing tickets over the next couple of weeks, so I hopped straight onto the website and lo, there was a £10 ticket delicately whispering my name. So I succumbed. It was alright really.

Can you remember a line/lyric from number three (Richard III) that you liked?
Points go to "Woe to the land that's govern'd by a child!" for taking advantage of necessary casting doubling.

What would you give number four (Edward IV) out of ten?
Hmmm. Well, it was a pretty traditional production and there were some omissions that outraged me (seriously, if you've cast Alexandra Gilbreath as the Duchess of Gloucester then I don't care what Barton did, you reinstate 2H6 2.4!) but it had all my favourite scenes otherwise (basically most of 3H6) and although some of those people really shouldn't have been on that stage, the ones who did belong were SO good that everything pretty much balanced out in the end. A semi-problematic 8?

Was there someone hot in number five (Henry VI)?
I pretty much spent the entire day mooning over Michael Xavier. I assume you've seen him and thus can fully understand why. It was particularly enjoyable in this play, as he was a pleasingly sassy Suffolk. We should also give bonus points to Laurence Spellman, although he did not reach peak attractiveness until Richmond, a number of hours later.

What was number six (Henry V) about?
Fighting. With unnecessary jokes. *shrugs* (I mean, it was a lot better than I'd feared, but lord these people need to stop cramming unnecessary jokes into Shakespeare plays.)

Who was your favourite actor in number seven (The Father)?
I actually really liked Kirsty Oswald, but Kenneth Cranham was absolutely tremendous. It's extremely impressive how such a physically present man can be so vulnerable.

What was your favourite bit in number eight (Photograph 51)?
Nah, I didn't have a favourite bit. It was pretty consistent in quality from start to finish.

Would you see number nine (The Smallest Show on Earth) again?
Sure! I wasn't sure about it at first but it was very delightful and charming once it got going and fleshed out the characters from tropes to people.

What was the worst thing about number ten (Richard II)?
When I first saw this production, I wasn't 100% sold, but it really did grow and develop as the run progressed, and although I wouldn't say it was faultless, I would certainly be hard pushed to pick a worst thing. I guess the glitter was a little underwhelming compared with my first visit.

Which was best?
Probably The Father, I reckon.

Which was worst?

Did any make you cry?
Richard II, Edward IV, and maybe The Father a bit?

Did any make you laugh?
Shall we just say all the Histories? Oh, and The Smallest Show on Earth.

Which roles would you like to play in any of them?
I've got half an idea in my head how to actually make Ophelia work, but I think I'd rather direct it than perform it. Other than that, any lady in any History, thank you.

Which one did you have best seats for?
I liked my cushion spot for the Kingston Histories. I was right on the aisle and Michael Xavier kept swooshing past me. Also front row centre for The Smallest Show on Earth, though there was a piano that was occasionally an issue.

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