Sunday, 22 May 2016

Last 10 things seen at the theatre: #092

1st to 21st May.

List the last 10 things you saw at the theatre in order:
1. My Mother Said I Never Should (St James)
2. The Maids (Trafalgar Studios)
3. King John (Rose Kingston)
4. Shakers (Re-Stirred) (Drake Hall)
5. Boy (Almeida)
6. Elegy (Donmar Warehouse)
7. Jackie the Musical (Wycombe Swan)
8. The Suicide (National; Lyttelton)
9. The Herbal Bed (Rose Kingston)
10. Kings of War (Barbican)

Who was the best performer in number one (My Mother Said I Never Should)?
Toss up between Katie Brayben and Serena Manteghi.

Why did you go to see number two (The Maids)?
For whatever reason, I do continue to see Jamie Lloyd productions, even though I'm beginning to fear that if he doesn't do something about it, we'll look back at 2016 as the time when his decline began in earnest.

Can you remember a line/lyric from number three (King John) that you liked?
I enjoyed Lewis the Dauphin's whole bit about seeing himself in Blanche's eye and finally liking himself, because I KNOW what he's actually saying, but this time it did sound like he was literally just admiring his own reflection.
"I do, my lord; and in her eye I find
A wonder, or a wondrous miracle,
The shadow of myself form'd in her eye:
Which being but the shadow of your son,
Becomes a sun and makes your son a shadow:
I do protest I never loved myself
Till now infixed I beheld myself
Drawn in the flattering table of her eye."

What would you give number four (Shakers (Re-Stirred)) out of ten?
Hmmm. 8? The writing didn't always do it for me, despite being most marvellously written for an all-female cast, but the performances were terrific.

Was there someone hot in number five (Boy)?
There wasn't anybody hot in it really, though there was a very pretty Akita called Kin who let me rub her belly while waiting for the show to begin.

What was number six (Elegy) about?
Plotwise, too much to boil down to a pithy one-line reply, despite its extremely palatable 70 minute running time. Otherwise, it was about a famous London theatre presenting a new play with an entirely female cast, aged between 46 and 67, which is a mighty cause for praise and celebration indeed.

Who was your favourite actor in number seven (Jackie the Musical)?
The cast were all, without exception, extremely energetic and charming and delightful, and all made a very strong case for being mentioned here, but the ultimate award has to go to Daisy Steere, who was simply so unbearably adorable that I had to go home and do a little cry after the show because of it.

What was your favourite bit in number eight (The Suicide)?
I most enjoyed the cameo scene from Gunnar Cauthery and Antonia Kinlay, and if I'd known there wasn't going to be another one after the interval, then I maybe wouldn't have come back after the interval either.

Would you see number nine (The Herbal Bed) again?
I probably would, yeah. It was nicely written and it would be interesting to explore further.

What was the worst thing about number ten (Kings of War)?
Difficult to say. I don't really like it when a production relies heavily on video cameras and projections, but the transition from Henry V to Henry VI was absolutely stunning and my favourite speech from Henry VI Part 3 was so delightfully done that I can't possibly be disgruntled this time. And four hours and forty minutes is an AWFULLY long time to spend in the Barbican, but I've spent more time seeing fewer plays in the cycle in a single day before now, so again it would be churlish to be disgruntled. So I suppose the main thing that bothered me was the complete lack of poetry that comes with translating Shakespeare into Dutch and displaying surtitles of what the actors are saying translated back into English. Some very lovely lines got a bit too messed up.

Which was best?
Probably Kings of War, but I also got a lot of very legitimate enjoyment out of Jackie the Musical.

Which was worst?
Neither The Maids nor King John were BAD, per se, but they were both terribly boring and poorly-directed, which in many ways is WORSE.

Did any make you cry?
My Mother Said I Never Should, Jackie the Musical, and Kings of War.

Did any make you laugh?
... My Mother Said I Never Should, Jackie the Musical, and Kings of War. Yeah.

Which roles would you like to play in any of them?
I want to direct King John. I'm reasonably confident I could do a better job than Trevor Nunn, who may have admitted that he was only doing it out of box-ticking necessity but could have at least tried to understand what makes it a good play if he's doing to do it somewhere people are going to pay real money to come and see it.

Which one did you have best seats for?
My front row off-centre seat for Jackie the Musical was great until the cast insisted the audience get up and dance at the finale. Sir, I am NOT that sort of audience.

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