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The Theatre, dahling.


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Up coming plays, Glasgow-bound -

 

The Tron, now till April 26th, The Wasp Factory (if only you lived nearer David, I'd take you!).

 

Theatre Royal, August, Romeo and Juliet (one I will go to).

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I went to see The Drawer Boy at the Tron tonight.

 

Synopsis:

It's 1972, and a self-absorbed young Toronto actor, Miles, arrives on a small farm to do hands-on research for an upcoming role in a play about country life. He is sent to live with two middle-aged farmers, Morgan who is not to thrilled with the self-involved young city dweller, and Angus, who is unable to remember that the young actor is even there due to a head injury sustained in London during World War II. Miles unwillingly stumbles upon the truth about their past and as a result, their lives are forever altered when art attempts to imitate life and the line between truth and fiction is crossed. What begins as an amusing portrayal of rural and urban culture-clash, slowly peels away layers of forgotten truths and lies, exposing hidden secrets of love and tragedy.

 

It was very good. It has a cast of three, two of whom, Benny Young and Brian Pettifer, are well respected Scottish actors. The play has just started its run, and it's well worth catching. A really powerful and moving piece.

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Theatre Royal, August, Romeo and Juliet (one I will go to).

Just bought my (lonesome) ticket for this, though I think it ended up being at the King's (yeuch), and I added a ticket to see Sunset Song in October.
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Suppose I should have said the I went along to see The Winter's Tale as part of the West End Festival last week. The Globe were on tour. I knew nothing of the play, other than the famous stage direction about a bear - and the bear didn't disappoint - and found myself having to read the synopsis to cut through all the archaic banter just to get into it, but from there it flowed well...until the conclusion which had me confused - they cranked up the banter...all the way to eleven - and running home for Wikipedia.

 

What made it special was that it was theatre in the open air, the venue being the quadrangle - an open courtyard - in Glasgow University. People brought along wine, snacks, and blankets, the latter being just the thing as the clock chimed towards ten and the sky leered over all threatening.

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I have this year been to see Swan Lake, Cats, Spirit of the Dance, hoping to go see Evita next month all at the Grand Theatre in Leeds.

 

Wasn't to keen on Swan Lake was only the second ballet I have seen and whilst I can appreciate the talent etc the dancing just dosen't touch me.

 

I loved Cats an Spirit of the Dance I obvioulsy prefer the energy of these two shows rather than the serenity of the ballet.

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Last night, I made my second visit to the Globe this summer after a trip about a month ago to see "The Merry Wives of Windsor." Yesterday, it was the rarely performed "Timon of Athens" on a balmy South Bank evening.

 

I went into the theatre knowing nothing about the play, but I found it an intriguing footnote in Shakespeare's work and perhaps unfairly maligned, although it is by no means his best work, being uneven in pace and tone setting broad comedy alongside much darker moments.

 

It has superificial similarities to "King Lear" with its chief character found cast out in the wilderness railing against humanity, but how he gets there is quite different. In addition, the character of Apemantus fulfils a similar role in proceedings to the Fool in "King Lear".

 

It seems appropriate to perform this play during recession (sorry, "credit crunch" makes it sound like a breakfast cereal), as the profligate Timon is cast out as his creditors come after him, and the recipients of his generosity turn their backs on him. No wonder he becomes so misanthropic.

 

The staging was peculiar, with netting hung across the Globe and characters sometimes lowering themselves into the action through it suspended on wires. For me, it was not entirely successful. This odd little play might have benefitted from being presented more straightforwardly, but this was a most interesting delve into a little known play.

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This odd little play might have benefitted from being presented more straightforwardly, but this was a most interesting delve into a little known play.

It's a strange one, isn't it? As you say, familiar ideas and characters but much paler in comparison with the great tragedies. I've never seen it performed, but would like to.

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It's a strange one, isn't it? As you say, familiar ideas and characters but much paler in comparison with the great tragedies. I've never seen it performed, but would like to.

 

I don't know how often, if ever, you make it up to the big smoke from your south coast eyrie, David, but the Globe's production is in rep until 3rd October.

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I don't know how often, if ever, you make it up to the big smoke from your south coast eyrie, David, but the Globe's production is in rep until 3rd October.

Well, I used to live there but I can't say I'm tempted back on a regular basis. Still, I'll keep that in mind - thanks!

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I saw Sunset Song at the King's Theatre on Saturday. Not having read the book at school, I didn't have any preconceived idea about the story or what the theatrical adaptation would be like.

 

The story follows the life of Chris Guthrie, a young girl living on a croft just outside of Dundee. She lives there with her brother, 2 other siblings (not seen or referred to in the play) and recently born twin siblings. Her father is an overbearing patriarch. He insists that Chris stick to her books to go on to uni, while he works her brother into the ground and treats his wife like a brood mare. Soon, it is just Chris and her father left on the farm (I don't want to spoil the book for any prospective readers), then just Chris.

 

The second chapter in her life, details her meeting and marrying Ewen, the great love of her life and they have a son. Then Ewen is called to war and returns home a changed man.

 

The final chapter is how the play ends, with Chris marrying a reverend and together they pay remembrance not only to Ewen, but to all the men of The Mearns lost in the Great War.

 

The set was quite clever. To symbolize the 2 environments that so dominate Chris's life - the ones she never escapes from as she dreamt - the floor space was lined with alternating laminate flooring - very dark to very light. It became both the wooden floor of the croft which for the most part imprisoned Chris and the furrows of the ploughed croft/farming land - another inescapable force in her life.

 

All the performances were very good - 'Chris' sometimes failed to have the gravitas that the role demanded for the later years. But it wasn't a huge problem. The only problem I had was with the choreography. Two realms of Chris's life were performed in dance. Firstly, the monotony of the farming life and time passing was depicted in synchronised 'farming' movements to which the actors repeated farming phrases in a round. It really jarred with the realism of the play. Second, the sexual intercourse was depicted as a sort of ballet - in its most basic form - between the two characters. And it was exactly the same movement for each of Chris's partners. I found it a little twee and unnecessary. It would have been much better for the lights to have gone down at the relevant point. I am sure the director, Kenny Ireland, thought it was all terribly symbolic - but it just jarred with the play as a whole.

 

Still, all in all, not a bad play and set me up nicely for reading the book next week or so.

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I saw Macbeth at the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh on Saturday. First of all, what a beautiful theatre! After my trip to the King's (yeuch) a week ago or so, this was a real treat. I think I was last at the Lyceum many years ago to see Leslie Nielsen play Clarence Darrow.

 

The set for Macbeth was a fusion between natural and industrial with huge tree-trunks, wood chips on the floor and ironwork stairs. All very grey and desolate. Dry ice was a continual presence on stage.

 

Overall, all the actor were very good at their parts. The main problem affecting this staging was that the actors seemed to concentrate more on delivering the lines rather than actual acting. Liam Brennan as Macbeth, over-emphasised the iambic rhythm to the point where I was cringing a little for him. He was much better when he muttered lines off-handedly.

 

Lady Macbeth, too, did the same. And in the first half, she was awful, just awful. Far too dramatic, if that's possible, and instantly a grotesque villain. Her obviously choreographed arm movements didn't always chime with the action. However, in the second half, she was much better, and her "out damned spot" scene was actually very good indeed - gave me chills.

 

The Macbeths as a couple, were also very good. There was plenty of sexual tension, sexual play and sexual manipulation from the off. I think hubby was embarrassed at some of the more explicit action. I could feel him squirming in his seat.

 

The denoument was better than the opening scenes too and moved along at a fair old pace. I think my favourite scene was when Macduff was told that his family had been slaughtered - the actor playing Macduff got the balance between grief and disbelief just right. Far better than when Malcolm is told of Duncan's death.

 

Overall, I enjoyed the performance and niggles aside, I thought it was a very good job.

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The main problem affecting this staging was that the actors seemed to concentrate more on delivering the lines rather than actual acting. Liam Brennan as Macbeth, over-emphasised the iambic rhythm to the point where I was cringing a little for him.

That's a real throwback to the old Gielgud days, so very surprising in an era when naturalism is the norm.

 

Glad you enjoyed it, although I found that surprising given the first half of your review. You seem to have changed like Lady M!

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Glad you enjoyed it, although I found that surprising given the first half of your review. You seem to have changed like Lady M!

:D I know it sounds as if I had a lot of problems with the performance, but really, it was good, plenty of tension and blood. Just the Macbeths were either very good or very pedestrian.
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I saw Mull Theatre doing Macbeth the other day - in a theatre full of schoolchildren. I felt really sorry for the two ladies who had come out for a wee trip to the theatre!

 

It was done by only 6 actors, which limited them a bit, and made it harder for anyone who didn't know the play to follow the action. The staging was a bit clumsy and static, and bits were delivered by actors with their backs turned. And it was moodily lit, which at times just meant badly lit. Like the Lyceum, there was lots and lots of dry ice.

 

Some aspects worked well. There was only one witch, and she was suggested to be more of an unbalanced maverick, like a down and out, with imaginary friends. I thought this worked well in suggesting how willing Macbeth was to believe the prophecies. She stayed on stage throughout, often playing minor parts, which I thought worked well in suggesting that the witch was a constant presence in the action and his life - and maybe that he was always thinking of her.

 

Macbeth himself was a bit wet. Lady M was better. Malcolm was played as a real drip, which I thought worked well - he was pretty gormless. Overall, a 2 out of 5!

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She stayed on stage throughout, often playing minor parts, which I thought worked well in suggesting that the witch was a constant presence in the action and his life - and maybe that he was always thinking of her.

 

That was similar to the Lyceum performance; the three witches often popped up on stage constantly reminding the audience of their part in the events. I am undecided as to whether I liked that or not.
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I posted my thoughts on the Lyceum Theatre production of Macbeth in the 'Macbeth' thread a few weeks ago and, as I said there, was not impressed with the performance up until the scene with Banquo's ghost after which I felt that it started to come together. One thing that I did think was a mistake, though, was for Jimmy Chisholm who played Duncan (and rather well too) to come back onstage a few minutes after his murder in the role of the porter. It rather spoiled the effect for me.

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One thing that I did think was a mistake, though, was for Jimmy Chisholm who played Duncan (and rather well too) to come back onstage a few minutes after his murder in the role of the porter. It rather spoiled the effect for me.
:D I think a number of the audience, hubby included, were slightly confused at his sudden reappearance, though I thought it was interesting that the same actor should play someone of the highest to someone of the lowliest status - a nice parallel.
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Have just booked a ticket to see Jude Law in Hamlet next summer!

:yumyum:

 

 

Owing to an internet mix up, I have a spare ticket for a different performance (in London, early next July). If anyone wants it, PM me!

 

I'm also going to see Six Characters In Search of an Author in London next week - having missed the National Theatre of Scotland production in which one of my former pupils had a role. :mad:

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Owing to an internet mix up, I have a spare ticket for a different performance (in London, early next July). If anyone wants it, PM me!

 

I'm also going to see Six Characters In Search of an Author in London next week - having missed the National Theatre of Scotland production in which one of my former pupils had a role. :mad:

 

Ooh, please let us know what you think of the Pirandello, minxminnie, from what I've read I'm keen to see it but don't know much about the play itself.

 

"Hamlet"'s on the to do list as well.

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Ooh, please let us know what you think of the Pirandello, minxminnie, from what I've read I'm keen to see it but don't know much about the play itself.

I saw a BBC adaptation years ago and it drew me right in, though I can't remember specifics. I will report back!

 

"Hamlet"'s on the to do list as well.

 

Better be quick - a lot of performances seemed to be sold out when I got mine, a few weeks ago. The power of the star ...

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