Posts Tagged ‘Simon Merrells’

Review – Oedipus, Pleasance Courtyard Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe

Monday 15 August 2011

“Sh*t” moaned the woman heading the queue at the Pleasance Courtyard.

“He’s the reason we booked,” the He being Steven Berkoff, who would not be offering his Creon at Saturday afternoon’s performance.

But she needn’t have worried. Mr Matthew Cullum covered the indisposition splendidly and since this is Oedipus by Steven Berkoff (after Sophocles) the auteur’s presence could be felt throughout it like the letters running through a stick of (Sisyphean?) rock.

We need not concern you overly with the plot. Oedipus married his mother Jocasta (“Where he exits he enters”) which of course leads to..well that would need a spoiler alert.

Simon Merrells who so impressed the Whingers in Berkoff’s On the Waterfront does so again in the title role. Anita Dobson as his mother/wife is strangely mesmerising as she wafts through the proceedings done up like a sixties cocktail party hostess wiggling her fingers constantly as though she’s having trouble getting her nails to dry.

It’s all stunningly staged and lit (Mike Robertson) with the excellent Greek chorus forming typically Berkoffian Last Supper style tableaux against a Dali-esque background (Design by Michael Vale). If it goes on just a little longer than necessary there’s a bit of traditional Greek dancing to help you through. Less Greek chorus, more chorus boys.

Note to the producers: Get Miss Dobson some quick-drying nail varnish so she can stop waving her hands about for the hour and 40 minutes.

Rating

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Review – The Whisky Taster, Bush Theatre

Saturday 13 February 2010

James Graham’s play at the Bush about a former History Boy with synæsthesia is very much orange – an orange somewhere between Jacobs cream crackers and Flymo. Or perhaps slightly more like a satsuma left over from Christmas 1967 in the first week of February but with the distinct taste of a recently brushed brick. There is the unmistakable aroma of a recently unfolded pacamac.

Graham’s dialogue resembles the leaf of an Antirrhinum but with less of the smell of EPNS cutlery. Kate O’Flynn is like Nesquik. There’s an amusing turn from Simon Merrells (who is in The Wolfman – how periwinkle is that?) which just IS a bottle of Liebfraumilch rolling along a caravan table on the Gower peninsula at Whitsun.

At two and a half hours it begins to feel like the sound of a Bel Cream Maker when brushed up against the tag of a Ladybird t-shirt from Woollies (the Telford branch). But nowithstanding, it’s got that distinctive salty sound one associates with an episode of  Oh, Brother! starring Derek Nimmo.

To summarise: it’s exactly like the feel of a Dinnefords bottle through a Findus crispy pancake.

Rating

Review – On The Waterfront, Theatre Royal Haymarket

Wednesday 18 February 2009

on-the-waterfrontIt is with bowed heads and silly, sheepish expressions that the Whingers admitted to each other that neither had ever seen the original classic film, On The Waterfront.

Despite growing up feasting on a veritable cornucopia old black and white movies they tended to dine from the menu of great divas. Andrew’s life and tastes were shaped by Sunday afternoon TV screenings of Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Lana Turner classics. Phil – some considerable years earlier – had forked out his ‘apenny to develop a palate for the likes of Theda Bara, Vilma Bánky and Marie Dressler.

So between them, somehow the grittier, more testosterone-fuelled movies such as Elia Kazan‘s eight-time Academy Award winner had passed them by. Perhaps their lives could have turned out so differently otherwise.

But on the other hand it was with few preconceptions and even less knowledge than usual that they sidled over to the Theatre Royal Haymarket to catch Steven Berkoff‘s acclaimed stage production of On the Waterfront. Read the rest of this entry »