08 May 2005

The Home Place

Mum took care of Spike last night so we hit the town for the second Saturday running. We got cheap balcony seats at the Comedy to see Brian Friel's play in preview. They were in the front row however and I got vertigo, so we moved further back, just behind a row of American students. They were quite well behaved on the whole, but the blonde girl on the end slept the whole 100 minutes without an interval, head between her knees.
The play, given a thorough toothcombing by Mr Billington here (spoiler alert!), is a fascinating companion to his 1980 masterwork Translations, which I know well from a brief spell as an A level teacher. Same concerns (advent of Irish rebellion, its first stirrings, the provocations), same guile, same humane wit and pathos. There is however, 25 years on, a contrast - The Home Place wears its genius lightly, conceals its art, where Translations spread it out on the table and said, look what I've found.
Tom Courtenay, by the way, gives a wonderful lesson in how to dominate the stage without really trying. He's fantastic, and has great support.
Friel again jogged me to look up my ancestors.


Anonymous said...

oof. henry 4.

sat at the back of the circle (they should just rip out those seats, really, the back two rows at least, they're surely convincing hundreds of people a night that theatre's no fun)

but even given that. slow, slow, slow - all that parading up and down that damn wooden thing. and so much damn acting going on, and no action half the time (though, yes, some of the acting was pretty damn good)

but theatre of blood is fun. particularly in the delightfully opportunistic way they pour vitriol over the lyttleton whilst taking full advantage of its amazing picture-box qualities -

sbs said...

wanted to see Theatre of Blood before press night (if not on it) but am doomed now to go with all their narcissistic wittering about it at the back of my mind...

i don't really mind them. except perhaps kate bassett when she loses it - witness her non-review of If Destroyed True - just licensed bullying really, with a whiff of class condescension - very Virginia Woolf. but even she doesn't really get my goat compared to proper, grown-up irritants - Rumsfeld, Michael Howard, Alex Ferguson, Melanie Phillips. (Not until she trashes one of my plays, anyway - I had a nice I o S review once but it was before her time). No, it's just that I'd like to have seen Theatre of Blood closed off from the critics, a proper no-go area for them. then they'd have to ask *us* what we thought of it, we'd all give it *****, they'd feel as patronised as we do routinely.

Re: Henry 4.1 - it was slow slow slow in the first half, for sure. and the damned wooden thing did get on my nerves after a while. But the second half zips along, didn't you think? Seeing 4.2 on Sat, and looking forward to more like it.