Seen Any Good Plays Recently?

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Re: Seen Any Good Plays Recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Jun 21, 2018 11:45 am

Donmar Warehouse's Shakespeare trilogy, directed by Phyllida Lloyd and on BBC4 starts with Julius Caesar with Jackie Clune in the title role, Harriet Walter as Brutus and Martina Laird as Cassius. All female cast, set in a prison as a prison production. They gave the impression this was using inmates but sadly not true and makes the opening pronouncement feel rather false.

The cast as a whole tend to take a scene to warm into things, most tended to be a little erratic though did well enough to pull one into scenes. Walter was impressive once her performance began to click with others, Clune had a real sense of authority as a leader. I felt Karen Dunbar didn't land the humour she was going for as Casca but my sister disagrees, Clare Dunne was poor as Portia but her forceful presence worked well for Octavius.

As a production, they did create a sense of "within prison" and props based around what might be reasonably allowed, did have sound issues with Laird in second half like she had a hidden microphone that stopped working. They were good at use of sound effects off screen, creating an atmosphere around the soothsayer (Leah Harvey) to make it surreal or the sense of Caesar as a leader by costumes and way others acting around their leader. There were good touches that along with Shakespeare words and the cast manage to suck you into scenes. The production also had little prison interventions or events disrupt the play. This did help you appreciate how drawn into it you had been and there were some little moments that worked but overall, it felt heavy handed.

Great ending.
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Re: Seen Any Good Plays Recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:39 am

Watched Donmar Warehouse's version of Henry IV (mostly part 1 with part two ending), same "in a jail" setting, Harriet Walter playing the title role, Jade Anouka playing Hotspur, Sophie Stanton as Falstaff and Clare Dunne as Prince Harry. The production is good, less heavy handed with the jail element and the costumes work well. Very fun use of props like the "ambush on taxmen" with a great bear joke or their visual map combined with funny use of gangs in the rebels splitting the land. Karen Dunbar is excellent with her vocal skills used for sound effects and the fight scenes are well done.

I felt the general performances were more consistent then Caesar, Walter was good as the King and I thought Anouka was very good at the hotheaded and passionate Hotspur. The Hotspur sections tended to the best thanks to performers like Martina Laird as Worcester (despite a Jamaican accent that seemed random), the funny Jackie Clune as the Welsh prince led to some fun sparking trade offs. Where it suffered was the main duo Falstaff and Harry. Stanton creates her own version of Falstaff and it is good, she does some very enjoyable comedy but when the comedy relies on back and forth with others, it can fall flat. Dunne is erratic, at times authoritative and passionate but other times the lines felt forced and delivery tonally wrong.

Again the play has the ability to pull me in, there is good drama, humour and some good performances. I wish Clunes had been given the Harry role, one feels that could have taken it to another level.
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Re: Seen Any Good Plays Recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Jul 05, 2018 2:53 pm

Watched thier third and final one The Tempest. This was perhaps the least good use of props and atmosphere of the three, maybe they had a bigger budget but the clothing and props (one of which was impressive) they used no longer fitted the scenario, it was too smart, too "where would they get that?" The prison was, bar the opening scene and the set, far less part of it other then Jennifer Joseph's amusing guard, then before. Music far more miss then hit with one comedy moment being the highlight

Three segments to the cast: 1) Harriet Walter's Prospero and guests. Walter's fine but nowhere near her best which is a problem for such a lead figure (particularly one that nowadays feels so cruel). Jade Anouka shines as Aerial with energy, good movement and personality, Sheila Atim and Leah Harvey as the to be lovers are forced at first but they do provide eagerness of youth and make a good pairing that makes their scenes work. 2) The Lords. Didn't get much time so scenes felt underdeveloped and cast not the best, 3) the comedy trio of servants. Jackie Clune, Karen Dunbar and Sophie Stanton made a fine comedy trio that provided laughter and a fun atmosphere

Really clever ending. My sister quickly bored and wandered off, I had nice enough time.
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Re: Seen Any Good Plays Recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Dec 10, 2018 8:54 am

No TV production of play gone wrong this Christmas :cry:
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Re: Seen Any Good Plays Recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Dec 10, 2019 2:53 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:No TV production of play gone wrong this Christmas :cry:


This Chrismtas doing a series of half hour ones, a Christmas special on Dec 23rd then nine more episodes from the 3rd of January.

Delighted for more Mischief Theatre but I would prefer one (or two) whole players, the long form allows them to build jokes over time, themes and repeated jokes to good effect an allows them to use their large cast. I'm sure they will do well and look forward to it but a tad disappointed
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Re: Seen Any Good Plays Recently?

Unread postby Sun Fin » Sat Jan 18, 2020 9:35 am

I got to see The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe a couple of days ago! It was absolutely fantastic. The way they did Aslan was very clever and the interpretations of the Pevensie children was so different from the movie but really, really worked. I cried, at a couple of different points. I would say go and see it, but it's leaving the West End in early February so sadly you've probably missed your chance.
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Re: Seen Any Good Plays Recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Feb 05, 2020 8:02 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:
Dong Zhou wrote:No TV production of play gone wrong this Christmas :cry:


This Chrismtas doing a series of half hour ones, a Christmas special on Dec 23rd then nine more episodes from the 3rd of January.

Delighted for more Mischief Theatre but I would prefer one (or two) whole players, the long form allows them to build jokes over time, themes and repeated jokes to good effect an allows them to use their large cast. I'm sure they will do well and look forward to it but a tad disappointed


My concerns were unfounded! If there is one issue, it is that doing weekly episodes where a lot of the basics does risk hitting the latter episodes a little in terms of full power as one knows what to expect. My sister felt it, I did not and may depend how one easily disengages

Each one of The Goes Wrong Show starts with Chris (Henry Shields) the director giving a little introduction to the play (and usually hinting at something that has gone wrong) then a 30 minute play. First one is a short Christmas tale, others range widely but they all go horribly horribly wrong with perfectly executed brilliance. Each individual production has something specific hampering them that helps provide an added freshness, each of the challenges providing some very clever and comical attempts to deal with the problem and some great reactions as the problem continues to haunt them in amusing ways.

The "this week's special problem" is one part of what the half hour allows to do, they can really make the most of whatever the issue is. The other is that instead of "would have loved to have seen a full play on this" or a mini version of something, the idea's they went for were ones I suspect they wouldn't do for 90 minutes. These ideas can be fully exploited within a packed half hour and might need filler stretched over 90 minutes while allowing them to focus on the problem of the week.

If you haven't seen the plays then the idea is what it says on the tin, a half hour play and it goes wrong. Flubbed lines, set problems, production issues, infighting between the cast. What they do to make them stand out is make things that go wrong inventive and timed to perfection, "mistakes" that must have taken a lot of practise to pull off. The right line that suddenly takes on a whole new meaning, the attempts to cut out the mistakes leading to a whole new and even worse mistake, the trying to work around the issue to humorous effect, the panic in the eyes.

If you have then this is a half hour an hour a week dose of what you come to expect. They don't go big on character due to lack of time but the traits (like the ego's or not knowing the lines) are well used for the humour, everything you love will be here. Everything is so meticulously though through and delivered, very clever writing.
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