Tuesday, 28 October 2008

CATCHING UP: The Plague of Laziness...

Well, not so much laziness this time as business. MCM Expo, non-writing commitments, and more job hunting hell. And yeah, some laziness too. Do not expect good writing this time, just some notes. A full review for one show, however, will follow.

The White Devil @ Menier Chocolate Factory: I don’t generally go for plays written during the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras, but I missed the highly acclaimed Revenger’s Tragedy earlier this year at the National, and this seemed like a good way to see some of the period’s work that isn’t Shakespeare. While I’m still not a big fan of the language and convention of the times, I still found The White Devil an interesting play full of horrible people doing rotten things and enjoying it more than I’d expected. Director Jonathan Munby manages (mostly) to safely clear the minefield of traverse staging by giving the piece a claustrophobic setting, but the nature of the beast means that everybody will spend at least one major scene staring at the back of the action. I think the cast had a few repeat performers from the MCF’s recent production of The Common Pursuit as well. It’s worth checking out on a meal deal price or with a discount.

The Picture of Dorian Gray @ Tabard Theatre: Props to Kangaroo Court for working their juxtaposition of Wilde’s classic tale of beauty in evil and the age of celebrity. This new adaptation revels in its modernity while maintaining the feel of Wilde’s original. The only problem with the piece is that it’s a musical, and while I love the form, it’s entirely unnecessary here: the show would work just as well as a straight play, largely because the songs are sung by the nameless chorus (Megan Pugh and David Templeman, neither of whom are particularly impressive singers) who spend most of the show moving scenery. I honestly wouldn’t have had a problem with this show being a 60 minute straight play vs. a 90 minute musical, and the opportunity to have, say, paired it with another one-act seems wasted. Neil McCurley has, however, struck gold by using projections to reflect the increasingly warped nature of Dorian’s portrait though the cues ran late the night I saw the show.

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