Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Another theatrical disaster

Perhaps theatre and I just don't agree. Another disaster last night: Mother Courage at the National Theatre. There was one good thing it it and that was very good: Fiona Shaw as Mother Courage (though not as I'd always envisaged that character, as much older and haggarder and shrewisher). Otherwises it was one of those performances in which all the time you're thinking – or I'm thinking because I'm suspecting myself of some fatal blindness in these matters – look at that stupid actor making a twat of himself or herself: who does heshe think heshe's being? Is that supposed to be a soldier?

Or is that just being philistine, like saying of 'Modern Art' “that doesn't even look like a tree".

The set, though spare in its basics, was constantly cluttered and unprepossessing to look at. The songs (as in all theatre, including Shakespeare, where third-rate composers try and write with-it contemporary tunes to the old words) were awful (perhaps with one exception): unlovely and unmemorable, the main singer with a strange diction and some problem with his esses (ss); the band pathetic, or maybe its sound system. And all the time there was unexplainable 'business' going on: an actor made some strange gesture or suddenly ran to the back of the set or got very excited and one didn't have a clue what it meant.

I ended up thinking, shouldn't most of these people, and especially the director, go out and get proper jobs?

Give me films any day. (Though Pirandello was great a few months ago.)

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