Sunday, 3 August 2008

THOUGHTS: Four Shows...

It's that time again. Time for the RZ to go on holiday with a backlog of reviews to post. So, much like with Jay Johnson, this is one of those rushed "get it out as fast as possible" posts. Apologies in advance, but it's this or nothing.

Pygmalion @ The Old Vic - The RZ caught the understudy matinee (yay, free!) and loved it from start to finish. Shaw is a master for a reason, and the Old Vic uphold their reputation for reliable, solid productions. The remainder of the run is sold out as far as the RZ knows, so get returns if you can and they're affordable.

The Chalk Garden @ The Donmar - Closed this weekend. The RZ wasn't as enamoured with this as the Whingers, but he chalks some of that up to going standing room (always a disconnecting force). It wasn't bad by any means, just not the amazing thing he was led to believe. He doesn't regret standing in a queue for over an hour to get his ticket, and at £7.50, standing room at the Donmar is cheaper than most cinemas and a better way to spend one's afternoon or evening.

Elaine Stritch at Liberty @ The Shaw Theatre - Stritch is a Broadway legend, and commands thes tage from the moment she enters until the curtain comes down. While her one-woman is engaging, entertaining, and classy through and through, it dips into excessive sentimentality when she talks of giving up drinking towards the end (something the RZ knows he's seen in a show recently but can't remember which one) and doesn't quite recover with the closing number. It's a brilliant show, but not worth the £60 (or even more galling £75) they're charging for it at the Shaw, especially when you understand that most people in the US saw it for half that even when they paid full price.

A Conversation With Edith Head @ The Leicester Square - This venue is still under partial rennovation, particularly the gents' (which resembles a military barracks) and the air conditioning (if there will be any) is still down. As a result, this tedious piece is compounded in its dullness by the heat as it drags on for its last 20 minutes. Unlike Elaine Stritch, Susan Claassen lacks the stage presence to keep the audience on her side, and the use of a planted audience member shouting out dates and questions gets annoying with little haste andonly gets worse as the audience's frustration grows with the character's. There's some interesting knowledge in here and some witty bits, but it's better to skip this piece on the whole.

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