Posts Tagged ‘Mike Leigh’

Review – Abigail’s Party, Menier Chocolate Factory

Tuesday 6 March 2012

Andrew loves olives. Phil can’t stand them.

So 50% of the Whingers like olives then.

Which of course will mean squiddly dit if you’ve never seen Abigail’s Party. Extraordinarily one of the Whingers’ party at this preview at the Menier Chocolate Factory had never seen it before. Well, we say party, there were five of us and not strictly speaking there together, but by chance. But five people and a party? Friends of Abigail will understand where we’re going with this…

Tricky one. The 1977 TV recording of Mike Leigh‘s comedy of social manners is so well-remembered by many of us that anyone putting on a new production must also feel they’re putting on a straight-jacket and taking a leap into the known. In Whinger circles it is probably the most frequently quoted modern play (well, any play then; we are not know for intentionally lapsing into swathes of Shakespeare). It is so ingrained in the Whingers’ psyches that Andrew still insists on offering Phil olives just so he can lapse into Bevspeak.

Tamper with it and you’ll incur the wrath of its fans, remain too faithful and it might pale by comparison. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review – Grief, National Theatre

Thursday 6 October 2011

Pity the poor marketing people at the National Theatre. You can imagining them coaxing him. “Come on Mike luv, get your finger out. We need a title. We have to produce a poster. We can’t call it A New Play by Mike Leigh. That’s what we called it last time.”

With Leigh’s “living as the character for months” working methods with actors, one suppose titles are the last thing on his mind and knowing the entire run was already sold out did they need one at all?

Yet a title – Grief – and a typographic poster solution reminiscent of a hammer were eventually found. Was Leigh going to be banging his gloomy theme home? Things didn’t look promising.

But what else might have called it? Depression? Retirement? Nice Fifties Frocks? He must have been miffed that Tea and Sympathy was already taken. Read the rest of this entry »