Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Last 10 things seen at the theatre: #099

18th October to 8th November.

List the last 10 things you saw at the theatre in order:
1. Tonight with Donny Stixx (Bunker)
2. Comus (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse)
3. The Nest (Young Vic)
4. The Grinning Man (Bristol Old Vic)
5. Jess and Joe Forever (Watford Palace)
6. Amadeus (National; Olivier)
7. A Pacifist's Guide to the War on Cancer (National; Dorfman)
8. King Lear (Old Vic)
9. Pond Wife (Bloomsbury Studio)
10. Sister Act (Wycombe Swan)

Who was the best performer in number one (Tonight with Donny Stixx)?
......... well, Sean Michael Verey.

Why did you go to see number two (Comus)?
I found myself with a gap on a Saturday evening, so I looked at my options, and this was the one with the shortest running time. Please take note, theatrical practitioners: short running times sell tickets.

Can you remember a line/lyric from number three (The Nest) that you liked?
Nope. Not a one.

What would you give number four (The Grinning Man) out of ten?
Let's give it a hearty 9! It could've done with being maybe a smidge shorter, but it was nonetheless thoroughly worth the semi-traumatic drive to Bristol.

Was there someone hot in number five (Jess and Joe Forever)?
I'm getting to an age now where if you ask me a question like this about a cast this young my response is just going to be an affectionate cry of "TINY BABIES!". Not actual technical children, but still so very young and precious and unobjectifiable.

What was number six (Amadeus) about?
I want to say it's about toxic masculinity. It feels like a slightly lazy answer, because pretty much every play could be described as being about toxic masculinity somewhere deep inside, but with only one speaking female character and the two lead male characters being consumed by their own ideas of success (not forgetting a side helping of unhealthy attitudes towards and unhealthy relationships with women), it's difficult to argue the case for it ultimately being about anything other than toxic masculinity. (Okay, sure, it could also be about the dog-eat-dog world of professional music in late 18th century Europe, but that's pretty much a given, right?)

Who was your favourite actor in number seven (A Pacifist's Guide to the War on Cancer)?
I went to the NT website to idly click through the cast list, confident I'd come back to this with a non-committal "well it was an ensemble piece and they were all very strong so how could I pick one", but then I saw Golda Rosheuvel, so apologies to the rest of 'em, but we do have a clear winner here.

What was your favourite bit in number eight (King Lear)?
I've seen a fair few Lears in my time, and this one's storm leapt immediately into my top three Lear storms. It's amazing what you can do with a simple projection and a few bin-liners, isn't it?

Would you see number nine (Pond Wife) again?
For sure, it was super charming, inventive, clever, and extremely glittery.

What was the worst thing about number ten (Sister Act)?
Having recently performed in Sister Act myself, I thought the worst thing was most likely to be having to sit quietly and not sing along. However, this production used the actor-musician concept which led to an unexpected but not entirely surprising worst thing - I am now EXTREMELY CROSS that my director didn't give me an accordion.

Which was best?
The Grinning Man! The only thing that can save 2016 now is a London transfer of this beautiful show!

Which was worst?

Did any make you cry?
The Grinning Man! And A Pacficist's Guide to the War on Cancer. And King Lear, VERY SPECIFICALLY Gloucester's yellow plastic poncho. There was something horrifically humanising about it that really stabbed me in the gut by forcing me to consider Gloucester as a person, not just a character in a play.

Did any make you laugh?
Tonight with Donny Stixx, The Grinning Man, and Pond Wife, I'd say.

Which roles would you like to play in any of them?
I already played Sister Mary Patrick, which was great fun, so that leaves Regan and anyone at all in The Grinning Man.

Which one did you have best seats for?
Front row centre was achieved for The Nest and Jess and Joe Forever. Perfectly respectable circle seats were achieved for The Grinning Man and King Lear. If I had to pick one though, The Grinning Man, as it was also comfortable and in a really beautiful Georgian theatre.

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