Thursday, May 23, 2013

Home Again, Home Again, Or: Theatrical Events in The United Kingdom

Back from another lovely trek across the pond. Still fairly jet-lagged, but back at work.

I may have more to write on these later, but for right now, a quick wrap up:

The Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff

Fun as hell, except for the lame 3D section...and a TERRIFIC museum (except for the screen constantly replaying Tennant's oh-so-overwrought regeneration over his TARDIS set).

Hamlet at the RSC in Stratford

Most expensive show we saw, and the most aggravating. I think I hated it, but I really would like to sit own with the director and just say, "OK...what?" Greg Hicks, as Claudius (doubled as the ghost), was really, really great. I also enjoyed the way they handled Ophelia's corpse, as in the picture above, onstage from the burial scene thru the rest of the show.

They simply did something odd in the character of Hamlet. Actor was too old, the performance was cold and uncharismatic, which was multiplied, and therefore I read it as intentional, by some maddening cuts in the text.

Full price 60 pounds, I think

 The Audience by Peter Morgan

Helen Mirren as the Queen, in a dramatization of her Tuesday -morning meetings with the Prime Minister. Lovely performances, lovely script (same writer as Frost/Nixon). I'm gonna take a guess and say it'll never play as well in the US. Requires too much knowledge of UK history. Quite funny and moving, for me. Mirren is pretty much perfection, and her hair and make-up team (with ON STAGE changes, in, literally, the blink of an eye) is probably moreso.

10 pound standing tickets

Passion Play by Peter Nichols

A really great show with a demanding concept...there are two versions of both lead roles. The character, and the character's inner voice. Sexy and compelling. Also with Zoe Wanamaker - who you may know as Cassandra, the last living human, in Doctor Who

1/2 price booth tickets. I think around 30 pounds.

Peter and Alice by John Logan

I'm guessing Judy Dench's final stage performance, what with her rapidly failing eyesight (pure supposition on my part). Regrettably, I was starting to get really sick when the show started (damn beef bourginon). Very talky and staid, and I found the direction rather too restrained, but you cannot fault the performances by Dame Dench and the really magnetic Ben Wishaw. CByrd found it beautiful and sad...crying by the end. Also neat because of Logan's Chicago connections.

10 pound day-of seats (matinee)

The Weir by Connor McPherson

Oh, my God, what a show. THE highlight of our theatre experiences. Great cast, with Brian Cox being simply, blindingly, magnificent. Dervla Kirwan (Miss Hartigan in "the Next Doctor") was also just....stunning. An incredibly, intimate, simple show. Felt like Chicago, in a way. 250 seat house, everyone was so close, but with some (probably unavoidable) poor sightlines. It's the first time we've seen a show by a non-profit company, with a season, and not a for-profit enterprise in a leased theatre, in London. Magic. 

7.50 pound day-of, standing, balcony seats. Then a couple waved us over, because they had two unused tickets and offered those seats to us.

I think this year was ALMOST as good as our first Treats/The Glass Menagerie/Equus/The 39 Steps year, but we spent so much less, and got into "completely sold out" (The Audience, Peter and Alice & The Weir) shows, by using the day seats offers, being willing to get up REALLY early to stand in line, and being willing, if need be, to stand in the theatre.

No comments:

Post a Comment