18 October 2006



After seeing the play at last, I'm not sure the assertion on the cover is altogether true.

It was really very disappointing. A lot of self-regarding navel-gazing. Like Woody Allen without the jokes.

A Cottesloe punter delivered his own verdict about half an hour in, by emitting a 6.7 on the Richter scale series of snores. A ripple of excitement went round the auditorium, before we all settled back down to the serious business of trying to work out how on earth the most inventive prose artist in the history of the language could write such dead-as-a-dodo drama. The production is fine, but in taking the play as seriously as the wretched characters take themselves, it offers us little respite from the dullness of the dialogue.

Last word to Philip Hensher: "Exiles, like most plays written by novelists, is a notoriously plonking effort. In this homage to Ibsen, little of the master's command of the stage is evident. If Joyce hadn't gone on to write Ulysses, it is most unlikely that Exiles would ever be performed at all."

2 comments:

Rod said...

I think "on the shelf" may be apposite. Judging from your description of course.

sbs said...

I can only think they mean Joyce the dramatist goes with Hauptmann and Ibsen because J comes after I.

As a huge fan of JJ - been to Trieste and the Museo Joyce there - it was a let-down. I'm glad they staged it, though, better to see it than read it.