Posts Tagged ‘Michelle Terry’

Review – Before the Party, Almeida Theatre

Wednesday 27 March 2013

Before_the_party_mainHere’s a puzzler to confound, should you happen to find yourself at a party surrounded by theatrically persuaded people: What is the connection between Before the Party and the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?

Give up? Well, the latter wouldn’t be quite the same without the formers’s writer. Academy Award nominee, Hitchcock collaborator and BTP playwright Rodney Ackland is also credited with discovering Chitty star Sally Anne Howes. That’s if you believe the Gospel according to St Wiki. We do. Who would think to make that up?

But his 1949 play (based on a short story by W. Somerset Maugham) is a bit of a puzzler itself. Part family drama, part melodrama,  part satire, part comedy and – in this production – bearing absurdist overtones and (rather redundantly)  animation. It’s as if Ackland were delving into the darker recesses of Terrance Rattigan’s psyche and percolating it through a wafer thin filter of Joe Orton. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review – The Comedy of Errors, National Theatre

Tuesday 29 November 2011

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE WROTE A DECENT JOKE – WHINGERS IN SHOCK.

The Whingers make no secret of the fact that they usually find the the comedy in his plays and the wordplay in his comedies deeply unfunny. Yes, they sometimes laugh thanks to an actor’s delivery or a bit of business injected by a director aware that the text will not supply sufficient giggles for a modern audience. But at The Comedy of Errors they actually laughed at a line written by the Bard himself.

Just the once, you understand, but it’s a start. For the record it was in one of the Dromio’s “I could find out countries in her” speech referencing Belgium and the Netherlands. Shakespeare of course invented everything. Was he the first to discover the intrinsic comic value in Belgium too? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – London Assurance, National Theatre

Tuesday 9 March 2010

As Phil arrived at the National Theatre for the preview of London Assurance on Monday night Andrew appeared to be intoning a new mantra. “Boo-see-co, boo-see-co, boo-see-co,” he muttered smugly, trying each permutation on for size to see which would sound most impressive.

It transpired that Andrew had for once been swatting up: delving into the programme notes to gen up on Irish actor, playwright, adaptor, stage director, manager, producer and innovator Dion Boucicault and – in particularly – learning how that intimidating looking surname should be pronounced. Suddenly Phil was at it too, pursing his lips contorting his facial muscles and rolling it round his tongue. All that was missing was a mouth full of marbles. Anyone passing would have rightly supposed the Whingers had lost theirs.

If they got nothing else out of the evening at least these wannabe Liza Doolittles might, at last, be able to impress someone at a party (if Sonia Friedman ever invites them to aonther) with their ability to pronounce Boucicault.

They need not have worried about reclaiming something from the evening. It gives us great pleasure to announce that the National Theatre has climbed out of the very deep pit it dug for itself with all the Really Old, Like Forty Fives, the Nations and (dare we bring it up again) the Frams and is back on form, doing what it does best. And how. Read the rest of this entry »