Culture Bound – November

Culture Bound – November

Theatre

Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward (Tower Theatre, Stoke Newington) This was a good solid production of an oft produced play, but it didn’t particularly excite. I think that’s probably down to being too familiar with the text having been  involved in three productions and seen a couple of others across the years; effectively I’m Cowarded out. The set was first class and the acting practically faultless; the female members of the cast were particularly good value. I found the ending to be slightly disappointing ***

Hansard by Simon Woods (National Theatre cinema screening) A double masterclass from Lindsay Duncan (particularly) and Alex Jennings in a debut play which pulled no punches. Lacerating dialogue in the vein of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; indeed, the play owed a little too much to its illustrious predecessor. Apart from this it was extremely good at capturing a particular moment in the late 1980s and examining the state of an almost failed relationship. The broadcast technique of flicking from one actor to another all the time became a little wearying ****

BEST OF THE BUNCH

The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh (Tower Theatre, Stoke Newington) An excellent production of the playwright’s first play. The first half played like an Irish female version of Steptoe and Son. In Act 2 events took a far more sinister turn and suddenly exploded into an act of extreme violence in line with the writer’s later style. Very good performances all round but especially from the mother/daughter pairing. The highly evocative set was also very nicely done ****

 

Books

My Purple Scented Novel by Ian McEwan  This is the slightest of tales but elegantly told. Full review here ***

Balancing Acts by Nicholas Hytner   The director’s time at the helm of the National Theatre. Full review here ***

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