Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Dark Night at the National

Have decided my failure to engage with Love Song last week was a 50/50 split between my bad mood and the play’s inherent not-very-goodness. Because, despite the persistence of a certain sense of malaise throughout the remainder of the week, I found myself really enjoying Coram Boy at the National on Friday.

Melly Still’s production is an incredibly dark piece of theatre: dead babies and onstage birth, child trafficking and hard-hearted fathers, yet it somehow works as a family-targeted show (though certainly not for very small kids). Lisa loathed it last year, when it first played at the National, and even I shuddered slightly when they started producing little baby skeletons from the floor, but the plot drags you along and the sheer bombast of the play keeps you hooked. I found myself all tense and trembling during the end of the second half and all the people around me seemed rapt. (Except for the two women sitting directly beside me, who though they seemed to be enjoying it, felt the need to discuss every plot point in some detail, with only vaguely lowered voices; it was as if they were watching television in their own living room, no acknowledgement of the people around them who might not want each dramatic exchange pointlessly reiterated and in case you haven’t gathered, it was very, very annoying).

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