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Started by saskia on Mar 4, 2011 5:17:49 PM

Plays you've seen or want to see.

1MELSM - 07 Mar 2011 11:44:46 (#1 of 2054)

I saw and enjoyed Season's Greetings at the National Theatre in London yesterday. Apparently it is considered among Alan Ayckbourn's best, this production being a revival of a play first performed in Scarborough c.1980. It was great fun but is surely coming close to the end of its run. I bought the tickets months ago when they seemed to be going quickly, so was surprised some tickets were available for yesterday's performance. Anyone still interested could still get to see it.

On Friday night, I saw another revival, Fen by Caryl Churchill about women in East Anglia, though far more absorbing than that might sound. She is bright, political, has an interest in history and is a terrific writer. The play is on at the Finborough Theatre, Earls Court, London, and while still early in its run few tickets may now be left at what is a very small theatre.

1MELSM - 07 Mar 2011 11:47:25 (#2 of 2054)

saskia, I forgot to thank you for starting the thread. Thanks!

Let's hope that with matters 'theatre' being so varied, all sorts of people contribute to it.

saskia - 07 Mar 2011 19:51:57 (#3 of 2054)

I loved Season's Greetings, MELSM. Also, Frankenstein-which if you haven't been able to get a ticket, you might be able to now as they have extended the run. Love Caryl Churchill..last thing I saw of hers was at the Royal Court. Here it is:

VeniVidiVicious - 07 Mar 2011 20:22:15 (#4 of 2054)

I saw Greenland at the NT a couple of weeks ago. It's a new play by Moira Buffini about climate change, which makes it sound dull, but I loved it. Nice to see some political theatre that's not afraid to give a direct message; it was slightly agit-prop-y, and it was none the worse for that. Well-paced too.

I'd recommend it.

saskia - 08 Mar 2011 21:04:00 (#5 of 2054)

Yes, I saw that too, VVV. Trouble is those going to see it are probably already convinced about climate change, and so they are preaching to the converted. I think it was a very decent attempt to make a play out of climate change. I think it succeeded, but this is the 2nd play I've seen to tackle this subject, and both fell short of a solution. One ending was totally whimsical 'Earthquakes in London' and in 'Greenland' too, nothing radical was suggested. It just left me feeling a bit bleak, as recycling my plastic bottles alone is not going to change the bigger issues like all the cars and planes in use. It was just a bit depressing to realize that planet earth is one of the least important things on most people's minds. The future looks bleak, and I can't see how it will change. Finger's x'd eh?

1MELSM - 09 Mar 2011 15:12:53 (#6 of 2054)

Greenland was written by Moira Buffini, Matt Charman, Penelope Skinner and Jack Thorne, whose work just didn't hang together. There were some interesting scenes and identifiable character-types, but I didn't like it because it was so uneven and I didn't think it worked. It needed rewriting, better co-ordination, and to be less preachy, there being no need for preaching at all.

It got me in a bad mood and I dreaded what might be about to happen, when before the performance I glanced through the programme and saw it was little other than facts, figures and fearsome predictions, which I've never seen in a National programme before, publications usually interesting and informative about playwrights, their influences and the play in wider context. As for this one, though, talk about assuming 'people are stupid', was my reaction as someone who has some awareness of what threatens environmentally.

I would like to have seen the revived environment-concerned and reportedly beautiful Water at the Tricycle, and the play at the Royal Court about an academic who falls out with colleagues over her climate-change-scepticism, by Richard Bean. Did others here see either of them?

1MELSM - 09 Mar 2011 15:16:16 (#7 of 2054)

Good news, however, was that with so many empty seats and Greenland due to close early in its intended run, apparently, extra performances of other productions become possible. Thus did I recently acquire tickets for Hamlet which returns to the National from tour, for a dozen extra performances. I'll see it very late in its run but at least get to see it.

I also have tickets for an interesting-sounding and highly praised play, Moment, at the Bush.

SlasherBindman - 09 Mar 2011 20:06:05 (#8 of 2054)

Rattigan's The Deep Blue Sea.

Slow and showing its age to start with, but gradually the grip tightens and the second half is taut and superb. Surprisingly upfront and the setting is more than a little kitchen sink.

Seeing Pinter's The Homecoming at Stratford in the summer. The RSC are also doing Marat/Sade and Dunsinane, about the occupation of Scotland after the death of Macbeth (it was on Radio 3 a few weeks ago).

1MELSM - 10 Mar 2011 17:52:30 (#9 of 2054)

Marat Sade, a legend of the brilliant 1960s' RSC as much as Peter Brook's Midsummer Night's Dream and David Warner in Hamlet. For me, they conjure up the years leading to '1968' etc, from plays being produced to the mood and outlook of the actors, and the seriousness and intelligence, involved.

I only ever saw the film of Marat Sade when it became available, and an audio version of the same production, and was bowled over by it. It reads well too. For years I'd look on Amazon but could only ever find it as a North American region video, when I was looking for a non-existent European region DVD. It'd be lovely to see a revival provided it isn't a mess.

1MELSM - 10 Mar 2011 17:58:29 (#10 of 2054)

I haven't got a ticket for any of this year's Rattigan plays but would love to get something affordable some time in 2011.

I mentioned this by Caryl Churchill upthread, and here is a review of the play from today's Guardian, Lyn Gardner rating it four-star:

saskia - 10 Mar 2011 21:21:55 (#11 of 2054)

Spot on about Greenland, MELSM. I saw Hamlet when it was on last year. Loved it, apart from some parts -Ophelia's mad scene-which didn't work for me. Kinnear was superb, though some of supporting male roles were weak. It was just so clear though. All made sense.

SlasherBindman - 12 Mar 2011 14:34:10 (#12 of 2054)

I've got a C90 cassette of a Radio 3 version of Marat/Sade from the mid-80s. It may even have been a repeat of the 60s recording ....Glenda Jackson who I think was in the Peter Brook production is in this as Charlotte Cordet (sp?). It's phenomenal.

1MELSM - 14 Mar 2011 08:01:37 (#13 of 2054)

That sounds like a repeat of the 1960s original recorded or of the tape cassette of it that was released decades ago. Glenda Jackson, Patrick Magee, Michael Williams, Ian Richardson among those on the tape. Yes, "phenomenal", given their involvement and the work of Peter Weiss, Peter Brook and Adrian Mitchell.

I first became aware of the Marat/Sade production sideways-on really, via a Judy Collins album a friend of mine loved to play which included some songs from it. I heard them replayed over some time before I discovered the source.

Btw, it's worth looking on YouTube, you know, for that special treat.

SlasherBindman - 17 Mar 2011 21:50:54 (#14 of 2054)

Mike Leigh's Ecstasy revived at the Hampstead Theatre - sounds interesting.

ArchieSwert - 17 Mar 2011 22:02:23 (#15 of 2054)

I want to see Rattigan's The Deep Blue Sea.

1MELSM - 17 Mar 2011 22:38:07 (#16 of 2054)

I read that day tickets have been available at about £20 for Rattigan's Flare Path that has just opened at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.

carterbrandon - 18 Mar 2011 08:52:48 (#17 of 2054)

I'm feeling old; I saw the original production of Fen! I later became friends with the actress who played the woman who torments her daughter. She still has a huge photo from it in her living room. The opening scene where she's scaring crows in a field.

How did they get away with the comedy Japanese businessmen? It's peculiar that in the 80s, well into PC, Caryl could still get away with comedy foreigners played by white people (see also 'Top Girls').

The Marat/Sade was on the telly once. In the days when, even though there were only four channels and not hundreds (including film channels), films other than Tarantino and Richie counted towards the 'non-mainstream' allowance. Glenda Jackson was great in that, and at times, hilarious.

carterbrandon - 18 Mar 2011 09:09:28 (#18 of 2054)

All this Rattigan - it's a bit Cameroonian. The last time Flare Path was on it was the Birmingham Rep in the 80s, and security kept the audience in their seats for 20 minutes after the show so a Very Important Person (Maggie) could be smuggled back out.

saskia - 18 Mar 2011 16:13:54 (#19 of 2054)

Saw Alice in Wonderland at Royal Ballet...can we include that in this thread?

VeniVidiVicious - 19 Mar 2011 00:22:38 (#20 of 2054)

Certainly saskia. Sounds great. Was it?

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