Friday, April 28, 2006

Dogme Days

Right. OK. Some words would be good.

I'll start on a high note. Just returned from seeing the touring production of Festen at Richmond Theatre. This was one of those shows that just seemed to escape me while it was in the West End. I was dying to see it but things never quite came together. Innate laziness had something to do with it I suspect.

Fortunately a ticket came my way courtesy of the lovely Miss Hunt and I'm very glad that it did. Truly one of the most gripping, strange and uncomfortable productions I've seen in a long while; I think I forgot to breathe for the last few minutes. These are good things. Honestly.

The play is based on the Danish film of the same title, one of the more successful products of Lars Von Triers Dogme Initiative. In a country house hotel, a well-off family gathers together for their patriarch's 60th birthday celebration. But the singing and the drinking and the general merry-making are fairly short-lived. With a clink of fork against glass, one of the sons makes a speech that hauls a nasty family secret into the open. The fall out is chilling and exhilerating to watch.

This is sharp and brutal theatre, though not without humour of the very darkest kind. And it's been years since I visited Richmond's red-carpeted playhouse; something of an error on my part I now realise.

So, first post. It's uphill from here, I promise. I'm telling you stories. Trust me.

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