Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A guddle of things. 
I was much looking forward to Martin Mcdonagh's new play, Hangmen. He would probably class amongst my favourite writers for his dark and bitterly cynical view of the world. This was a story of one of Britain's most experienced hangmen, living out his life with the consequences of his career choice hanging around his neck. My appreciation of the full complexities of the plot was dampened by a nap towards the end of the NT Live relay so I can't pass any fair comment on the rug pull towards the end. But that which I saw was brilliantly scripted. Black as treacle, quick fire scathing, beautifully observed and ultimately, maybe a little more compassionate than some of his earlier work. Is Martin McD growing out of his heartlessness?? I would like to see it again and try for full alertness next time.
I've been wriggling with jealousy at David Grimes catching Katie Mitchell / Sarah Kane's Cleansed at the National Theatre. Apparently this is the first time that Ms Kane has made it onto the National stage which feels like a travesty to this devoted fan. At least she's there now. Even if way too late for her to enjoy the bombastic media outrage. It sounds like a production to treasure.
The Lyceum's Crucible was a peculiar show. It looked stunning. The lights were lovely. Costumes lavish. Set delicately carefully beautiful. It was, as a collective, pretty as a box of twee continental biscuits. 
But the accents. Oh my life. A peculiar cultural smorgasbord. Various portions of America. Ireland. Unidentifiable places and I don't have any sort of ear for accents. I spent the first act in horrified wonder. 
It was a pity because the acting is mostly good. I thought Abigail, Lizzy Proctor and John were miscast. But where (in my humble opinion) they got the casting right, it was spot on. The passel of teenage trouble makers, Abigail aside, did the most chilling version of the (imaginary?) bird swooping down from the rafters that I've seen. 
But the accents somehow diluted all of the good stuff and rendered the overall piece the poorer.
Now having since spoken to a chap who should know, Mark Gorman, I understand that Miller himself says accents don't matter. The actors should adopt whatever accent they feel comfortable with. Good advice. It's a timeless story in many ways that doesn't need this adornment to carry it. 
So the question is why the director didn't urge this pack of mostly SCOTTISH actors to speak IN THEIR NORMAL VOICES instead of this patchwork quilt of dialects and make believe? 
Still, in many respects it was a good show. And maybe the director did try and the actors were willful. That can happen, I gather.
Then there was Paris. A brief birthday foray for a fine man. Strolling (striding actually - there was much to see and not much time) along the banks of the Seine on Sunday morning and we bumped into this. 
 Just playing for the love of it, apparently. 
That's my retirement in Paris and my un-retirement of my long neglected clarinet sorted then.


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