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.
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
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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.
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
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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.
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
User avatar
Dong Zhou
A-Dou
A-Dou
 
Posts: 15679
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 12:32 pm
Location: "Now we must die. May Your Majesty maintain yourself"

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