james debate
james debate

Monday 15 October 2007

Well I have seen many productions in the theatre this summer, much to my enjoyment, most of which were of a very high quality and very recommendable, so here I will briefly go over a few of the highlights (hopefully with a little feeling). Maybe you can catch them if theyre still on.

Recently I saw moonlight and magnolias at the tricycle theatre, about a producer/director/writer team trying to write the movie 'gone with the wind', who lock themselves in a room for a week in order to hurry out a script to what they see as 'schlocky', money making rubbish, hence the rather starry-eyed title. Clearly this is a premise that suits theatre well, where scene changes are difficult, allowing the inclusion of very good detail in the set (i was keen eyed enough to notice american plug sockets on the walls on the set). The play itself is absolutely hilarious, well written and very well acted. To give a feel for the characters I would direct you towards the television show Seinfeld. The writer is jerry, the porducer is george, and the director is kramer. It is not like me at all to describe characters in a play using tv analogies but so fitting are those characters to this production, in appearance, mannerism and behaviour, that it is difficult to imagine the director of this play not having them in mind.

Next up is Parade at the Donmar, which as everyone knows is my favorite theatre; small, intimate, and bloody hard to get tickets for! This particular production was a musical, with what can only be described as an unusual choice for such a show: the persecution of an innocent jew for child rape and murder in the old south of america... right. Despite this you still get swept up in the emphatic and patriotic spirit of it all, in good humour, before getting sunk in the hippocrisy and injustice of it all, a good use of juxtaposition, though not as effective as in the production of the bacchae we saw at eton 2 years ago.

However saving the best for last is the Vanishing Number, at the barbican. Anyone who was with me to see the elephant vanishes will remember how masterfully done it was, with use of video and sound that was practically unparalleled anywhere else, leading to a surreal, almost dream-like experience. This production follows in a similar vein, also being a production by theatre complicité and comes off as highly impressive for doing so, as most of their productions are. The story revolves around the relationship of a mathematician and an american she meets at a lecture, who knows nothing about maths who, for reasons which dont become clear until the end, both become intensely fascinated with an historic indian mathematical progidy who went to oxford, coming up with the apparently revolutionary equation 1+2+3+4...+infinite= 1/12 (no i dont get it either, but was impressed i managed to follow the maths for at least a few minutes) and the two stories are told simultaneously, coming together at the bittersweet finale. Aside from containing extremely high production values, the writing and acting is very good, and consistently funny throughout right until the somewhat darker end, which you probably wont see coming until late on. A very high recommendation.

There were others I saw, but these three were probably the most notable that I can think of now.

Newer Post Older Post Home