21 March 2013, Donmar Warehouse, London
Great play on at the Donmar. Can always count on Donmar to deliver quality shows at low prices in an intimate setting. Ha I sound like I work for them.
Perhaps it’s because I’ve kind of been on a theatre drought… this show, although far from my usual taste (a comedy set in the Victorian times), was great. I thoroughly enjoyed it. And I didn’t fall asleep despite being jet lagged… that must say something 🙂
The acting was phenomenal. I’ve really come to appreciate how great good acting is (used to take good acting for granted!) – and the key to that is being able to be subtle. And interestingly, the actors played actors within the performance and so put on stereotypical caricature personas. So they themselves weren’t playing subtle characters, but somehow the way they did it wasn’t bad acting. Hm not sure I’m explaining it very well! Anyway, they actually addressed subtlety as key to acting in the play – act it, don’t show it. The play also addressed the inevitability of developments and changes in theatre, which was interesting. Some of the actors played multiple characters and it really demonstrated their versatility. Especially Ron Cook who played a comedic old female theatre manager then a serious old traditional grandfather.
What got me to buy tickets was actually because I saw the movie Anna Karenina on the plane and got really excited by the staging of it. The acting wasn’t great (except Jude Law) and it by no means did the book any justification but it was fine because I watched it as just another movie (and not as a telling of the great novel). But yes, the set blew me away… so cleverly done. Although because of the chosen style, it meant that the movie lent itself to being overly dramatic, super theatrical and staged like to the point it was a bit comedic, but that was fine. And actually the bits that I loved… like the dancing and the music turned out to be produced by some of my favs! Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui did the choreography (although a very small element, his distinct style came across) and Dario Marianelli did the music… (who I’ve worked with before!) And the screenplay is written by Tom Stoppard.
Oops. Back to this play. So yes I was intrigued because I was researching matinee shows after getting off the plane this morning and saw that it was directed by Joe Wright who directed Anna Karenina and Atonement, and actually it’s his theatre directorial debut. Also the play was an update by Patrick Marber, a playwright I worked with before who has a funny sense of humour.
I hadn’t read/seen the original version of Trelawny of the Wells but I definitely had a great lighthearted afternoon!