Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Two Down, Two To Go

Tempting as it is to employ some sort of bus-related metaphor here I can't quite be bothered, all I'm going to say is that after a few thin weeks theatre-wise, I've now hit a spurt - four plays this week. Two down, two to go.

On Monday, Lisa and I went to see Peter Hall's revival of David Hare's Amy's View, an interesting character study rather undermined by stuffy, conventional staging (ironic in a play that makes such a big deal about the virtues of theatre vs. other forms of media). I almost felt myself agreeing with the deeply unsympathetic son-in-law character when he explained what he disliked about theatre (productions that don't even try to transport you anywhere new, now that would be one of my dislikes). The relationship between Felicity Kendal's charismatic matriarch and her daughter was well done, complex, believable. But the play left me cold and the final seen which should have been quietly devastating left me unmoved.

Yesterday's play couldn't have been more different. A micro-budget musical in Islington's Rosemary Branch Theatre (a lovely above-a-pub affair with scatter cushions on the seats, but a complete arse to get to). The Big Ending had a neat concept, that a man's unbalanced brain chemistry could result in all the trappings of musical theatre - with people slipping into song in the street and at work - just with it happening all in his head. It was clever and well sung, but once this tricksy premise was established they didn't seem to know where to take things next. It was a short play, just over an hour, but it still dragged in places and (ironically) didn't know how to end things. Still, with its 5p budget and committed performances, it felt braver than the previous evening's offering.

2 comments:

A said...

Hi Natasha,

Fantastic blog - I rarely get the chance to go to the theatre and love reading good reviews of stuff. The Rosemary is 5 minutes away from my house, and indeed a pain in the arse to get to! However, it's a great venue and I'm glad you enjoyed the experience - and the place also does a bloody difficult pub quiz! I've been reading your blog for a while and have blogrolled you - hope you don't mind!

Natasha Tripney said...

Not at all, glad to know this stuff isn't disappearing into the ether!

I really liked the theatre - and the pub below - but I live south of the river, so it's not the easiest journey. Ditto the Arcola Theatre, great space, but always a bit of a mission to get to.