Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Breaking News (warning, this report contains flash beeping)

Beep! Beep! Beep! TLT was, to use a technical theatre motoring term, gobsmacked by an email from Jenni at Stagejobspro that we’re the Featured Theatre Blog of the day! Whoooay! Perfect three point turn, spotting hidden crossroads, passing the test and MOT all at once! My car  is scarlet with pride and my blog is read! Over-excited but conscientious as ever, TLT stopped at a handy layby to look through http://www.uk.stagejobspro.com/f/319 . Although a cute little burping stream of non-highway code beeps may have distracted passing motoristsBeeeeeep!

Monday, 28 September 2009

The Ones That Flutter Review

The Ones That Flutter by Sylvia Reed
Theatre503, SW11

Leasehold Lives

The fluttering ones being birds shot on a hunt who cling to their lease on life nevertheless … This intriguing yet ultimately frustrating play seems to defy its tag as a death row drama with its centre shifting from scene to scene. This could be one of its raisons d’etre, although TLT found as one scene followed another, moments of conflict felt a little schematic and forced. The play touches on big issues: death row, the svelte representative of a property developer wielding – presumably - pre-credit crunch cash, the relationship between taciturn white warder and his Texan jail tenant, a poetic black prisoner, a claustrophobic and violent childhood, a lost sibling. At the same time, having only hints of emotional connections and threat rather than making us feel them underpowers this one-act play. Yet, alongside atmospheric set design and sound, this drama's pace holds the audience, while there’s enough in the writing and acting to whet the appetite and catch fluttering glimpses of something more substantial. An amber light for a thought-provoking evening.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Review: Mother Courage and Her Children

Mother Courage and Her Children by Bertolt Brecht
National Theatre, SE1

Ma Courage Struts Her Stuff

First time ever to see this Brecht classic. Mother Courage (Fiona Shaw) less a representation of maternal courage than a would-be profiteer, an obliviously harmful whirlwind, unevenly revealing and suppressing her motherly instinct for children who could just as well be three war orphans picked up on the way. Costumed from 18th century rock-chick bustle via other conflict fashion to a final clinical 21st century boilersuit, Mother Courage sashays behind the lines, accompanied by dreadlocked singer and band. In keeping with Brecht’s theory of distancing (I assume) there’s raucous noise, yelling, some over miked singing and narration and a lot of hammering home of messages.  TLT did wonder if the production would have been a more powerful frayed tapestry with a few less dischordant chords revealing more of the text and plot threads. So, as hit and miss as Mother Courage’s attempt to profit from war (bearing in mind TLT saw a work-in-progress preview). Just about an amber light acquired taste from TLT for a non clock-watching experience while the audience gave it a standing ovation green but several empty seats after the two-hour first act and interval indicated some might see red ... :o

Saturday, 12 September 2009

War Stopped for Heath & Safety Reasons

Mother Courage and Her Children by Bertolt Brecht
National Theatre, London SE1

Apparently in these cash-strapped times we should be grateful for what we get ... This seems to be the attitude of the National Theatre,  informing the audience yesterday only when seated we'd be getting just the first half of Brecht's wartime drama Mother Courage as they hadn't manage to finish the technical rehearsal. This is taking alienation a bit far, TLT thought. Still, unfair to give it the red light purely on the experience as we didn't see the production, opting instead to re-book at no extra cost (excluding fares and time). So we'll let you know when -  [further blogging in this entry is cancelled as we haven't finished the rough copy ...]

Review: Too True To Be Good

Too True To Be Good by George Bernard Shaw
Finborough Theatre, London SW10

The Shawcrank Invention

Shaw has definitely come back into vogue - so full of optimism TLT went to this fringe production. A bad-boy preacher and his piece of hot totty specialise in jewel thievery and persuade a poor-little-rich-girl victim to join them in their exploits.  The trio end up in a colonial outpost where their pasts finally catch up with them. In between there's an awful lot of lengthy speeches which only James Clarkson as the preacher's father seems to scoop up  and imbue with any relish or meaning. A last apocalyptic speech of the preacher appears to indicate what a more mature production could have achieved. It has its moments but we have to give the production as a whole a borderline  amber/red verdict ...