Posts

Showing posts with the label National

Featured Post

Kafka-ish: Kafka @Finborough

Image
In offering proof that Kafka is everything to everyone - writer-performer Jack Klaff plays various roles, including the man himself in what is a part tour, part immersion and part legend of Franz Kafka. He is a writer who achieved fame after his life was cut short due to succumbing to tuberculosis at the age of forty. He is probably better known for his reputation and the Kafkaesque style attributed to his writing than his life. But after this piece, you’re left curious to learn more about the man and his works. And that has to be the best theatrical tribute you could give a writer, even for a writer who stipulated that his works be destroyed upon his death. It’s currently playing at the Finborough Theatre . Franz Kafka was born in Prague in 1883. In 1901, he was admitted to a university and began studying law. While studying, he met Max Brod, who would become his best friend and eventual literary executor. Brod would posthumously publish many of his works and writings. Kafka’s life co

Disorder in the house: This House

Image
This House by James Graham, back for return season at The National Theatre , is a political drama (and comedy) that manages to capture the excitement and the insanity of its time. It covers the period between 1974 to 1979 which was the last time there was a minority government running the country. With a wafer-thin majority the government was not expected to survive and it was the role of the whips , who enforce party unity in voting, to ensure its survival or bring it down. While it is full of some of the spectacle set pieces of the time such as a near riot in the Commons and Big Ben breaking down, what is more remarkable is how it sheds some light on the relationships that developed in the period both within the parties and across party lines. It is part epic drama with a booming soundtrack supplied by a supporting band, and part series of small scale personal dramas from people passionate about something.

Theatre: Every Good Boy Deserves Favour

Image
Maybe it was the fact that it was an 8.45pm start, or that I had a rather hearty meal just before seeing it, but I found it hard to stay awake watching Every Good Boy Deserves Favour at the Olivier Theatre. The premise of a man hearing an orchestra in his head was interesting enough, but this work by Tom Stoppard and André Previn feels like three separate stories in one. The first story was the crazy guy with the triangle who hears the orchestra, the second being the one of the dissident, and the third being the perspective of his son. Throwing all three together, the play just didn't work. Judging by the audience's muted applause at the end, I don't think I was alone with that view. Still, there is the novelty factor of seeing an orchestra and play combined. And Toby Jones is a treat in the lead role. The odd moments of insanity seemed to suggest this could have been something better. But for the most part it just felt so dated. Like something that would have been stag

Theatre: August: Osage County

Image
On the afternoon of new years eve I found myself at the National Theatre watching this production alone. It is a good idea not to invite people who have to cook dinner for six to a matinee that lasts for three hours. This play has been a sell out however so I didn't have trouble getting rid of the spare ticket. However I was worried about how much of an effort it would be to sit through this production. It turned out that this breathless production is so fast-paced, so gripping and thrilling that the time whizzed by. This production, from the Steppenwolf Company in Chicago won the Tony this year for best play (among others) and it is easy to see why. The premise in this dark, dark comedy is that the Weston family is reunited in the family home in Oklahoma after their father disappears. This sets the scene for a series of disturbing revelations. The play has been marketed here as a view into a dysfunctional American family. The humour in Tracy Letts script however, is less derive

Theatre: The Year Of Magical Thinking

Saturday night I finally caught up with The Year of Magical Thinking which has been playing since April at the National Theatre. Featuring Vanessa Redgrave on a chair, it tells the story of American author Joan Didion and how over a year she lost both her husband and her daughter and the process she went through in dealing with it (or more to the point not dealing with it). The play is based on her book however it exapnds the story to include the loss of her daughter as well. There is such a frank honesty to this story that even with the subject matter you can't help but be drawn into it. Perhaps it is the way it constantly asks the audience to reflect on this story as it will happen to all of us: the details will be different but the end result is the same. It was certainly was a novel way of reminding us all about our own mortality and how dealing with it is part of life. Perhaps the subject matter (people die), the fact that it was the bank holiday weekend and people may not