Monday, 11 January 2016

Last 10 things seen at the theatre: #087

3rd to 9th January (NEW YORK SPECIAL).

List the last 10 things you saw at the theatre in order:
1. Allegiance (Longacre)
2. Hamilton (Richard Rodgers)
3. Sleep No More (McKittrick Hotel)
4. Sleep No More (McKittrick Hotel)
5. Lazarus (New York Theatre Workshop)
6. Something Rotten! (St James Theatre)
7. Hamilton (Richard Rodgers)
8. Fun Home (Circle in the Square)
9. Sleep No More (McKittrick Hotel)
10. The Flick (Barrow Street Theatre)

Who was the best performer in number one (Allegiance)?
One abhors taking the obvious path, but Lea Salonga did a damn fine job with the material. Also I'm reasonably confident there's a portrait in her attic that gets more withered and horrific by the day.

Why did you go to see number two (Hamilton)?
I've been waiting for this show for six years, since before it even knew it was going to be a show. Why WOULDN'T I go to see Hamilton?

Can you remember a line/lyric from number three (Sleep No More) that you liked?
"When you were five," she said, "you didn't get on with the other children. So I put salt behind your right ear," she said, "to keep you safe." And I heard her say this, and I felt her caress my head, and I saw her pouring salt into a paper packet which she gave to me (and which has left my pockets filled with salt ever since). But it wasn't until maybe half an hour later that I realised she had PUT SALT BEHIND MY RIGHT EAR. I brag about being fully conversant in Punchdrunk storytelling methods, but they still manage to surprise me every time. It's one of the bonuses of being generally quite an oblivious person, I suppose.

What would you give number four (Sleep No More) out of ten?
I feel like Punchdrunk shows benefit from being based on works that are fractured to begin with, as one clear narrative doesn't lend itself as neatly to being broken up in this particular way, so I wasn't really sure about this show at first. And even though I've now seen it three times and am more sure about things, I don't think I'm any more able to assign a mark out of 10 to the show as a whole without several more trips (at which point I would probably be completely emotionally invested and give it a full 10 without any consideration for objectivism anyway). So if I take this one performance as an individual... gosh, I might go with a 9 actually, it was a great show. I chose some splendid characters to follow and was rewarded with intriguing story, excellent interactions, and booze!

Was there someone hot in number five (Lazarus)?
Well, there were some good-looking people in it, but not hot, not for me.

What was number six (Something Rotten!) about?
See, I bought my ticket assuming it would be a silly comedy full of Shakespeare references to spot, but it actually turned out to be a silly comedy full of musical theatre references to spot. Fortunately I am fluent in several flavours of theatre references, and am reasonably confident I got all the jokes.

Who was your favourite actor in number seven (Hamilton)?
I mean, we're looking at an exceptionally talented cast here, especially the likes of Renée Elise Goldsberry and Leslie Odom Jr and Okieriete Onaodowan, but far and away the greatest gift that was ever given to audiences is Daveed Diggs. The show is brilliantly written and constructed, and the best bit of construction is having audiences fall for Diggs's Marquis de Lafayette, then bringing us back after the interval to hammer us over the heads with his show-stealing turn as that asshole Thomas Jefferson. I will be spending the rest of 2016 sighing that sure, the shows I'm seeing are good, I suppose, but they'd be BETTER if they only had Daveed Diggs in them. What I'm saying is I REALLY REALLY like Daveed Diggs.

What was your favourite bit in number eight (Fun Home)?
I just checked the track listing of the cast recording to see if I could identify a particular favourite moment, but it turns out the show was packed with lots of excellent moments, so I'm going to politely decline to answer this one.

Would you see number nine (Sleep No More) again?
I very purposefully booked a single trip on the Monday evening (this one) to scope out the terrain before returning for the double bill on the Friday evening. So yes. And having now completed the Friday double bill as well, I would see it yet again if the opportunity were to arise.

What was the worst thing about number ten (The Flick)?
I probably should have spent more money to get a later train from DC to NY, as a 6am start followed by a 3+ hour play was quite tricky. Also there were two pieces of popcorn that stubbornly refused to be swept up, and they REALLY bothered me after a while.

Which was best?
In a decision that will shock no one, Hamilton closely followed by Sleep No More.

Which was worst?
I just really didn't like Lazarus at all. I liked what they were doing with the music and the production was fine but I couldn't understand what was going on with half the characters and I thought the women were very shamefully treated by the writing.

Did any make you cry?
I have a LOT of feelings about Eliza Hamilton, okay?

Did any make you laugh?
Hamilton had its moments, and Something Rotten! had Christian Borle, so there was some laughter indeed.

Which roles would you like to play in any of them?
WELL. Although the point of Hamilton is that the cast are not the same old white faces you'd expect for a show about the Founding Fathers, I believe Lin-Manuel Miranda has stated an all-female cast would be a-okay once the show goes out into the world for non-professional productions. And when that day comes, I will SHINE. As who, I am undecided, but I've got quite a number of years to work it out (by which point it'll probably have to be Philip Schuyler but hey). (Okay, so my top three choices right now are Angelica Schuyler, Aaron Burr, and George Washington, so there we are.) Also I would still love to be in a Punchdrunk production, but Sleep No More is significantly more dance-based than The Drowned Man and thus I probably wouldn't get away with it.

Which one did you have best seats for?
The front row didn't work so well for me in New York as it does in non-West End London venues which all seem to have significantly lower stages. So I suppose Lazarus, really. I got the best seats available for the price I was willing to pay for Hamilton, but that did put me quite far over to the sides. If you can only get a far sideways seat, I'd recommend being on the left side of the auditorium as you're looking at the stage rather than the right.

No comments:

Post a Comment