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Author Topic: Never So Good (OneTouchTheatre)
Purves Grundy
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Went to see a preview production of this new play about Harold MacMillan last night at the National Theatre.

It's, um, not very good.

Firstly, I was astonished at how poor the acoustics are at the National. Nearly all of the first fifteen minutes are inaudible, especially whenever there were any noises off. They're going to have to turn down the volume before the first night.

Secondly, it doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. It sets out to be a psychological study of Supermac and how his experiences in childhood and the first world war shaped him and his relationships. Then about half way through it just turns into a love letter to Macmillan and the Edwardian generation of politicians.

It takes the form of a series of historical snapshots - WW1; Munich; Casablanca; Suez and Profumo, but to anyone at all familiar with history there's nothing new or surprising or informative there. And the script was very leaden, not that seemed to stop half the audience laughing away throughout. I guess aged tories must be starved of laughter day-to-day.

And the other huge problem was in the casting. Robert Glenister was very good as the irrepressibly sleazy and venal Bob Boothby, but the huge trouble was casting Jeremy Irons as Macmillian: he looks and sounds so much like Anthony Eden, with whom he has to share a stage much of the time, that it's impossible not to be distracted by such miscasting.

Anyway, I'd be surprised if it runs for long, so Tubby Isaacs, who'd appreciate its nostalgia for patrician toryism, had better get cracking if he wants to see it.

Nil thread.

Posts: 7499 | From: A Gun | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Wyatt Earp
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Plays about politicians at the National, is it? A few years ago, I saw the one about a thinly disguised Charles Haughey, with the copper out of Minder. That was good.
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Hieronymus Bosch
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Sebastian Barry had his reputation trashed in the Irish right-wing press for penning that play, even though it was excessively kind to Haughey, if anything. The old thieving scumbag still casts a long shadow.

I watched my younger brother acting in a play at the Project Theatre at the weekend. He was quite good.

[ 18.03.2008, 10:29: Message edited by: Hieronymus Bosch ]

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Dr. Hofzinser
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The last thing I went to see was Avenue Q. I thought it was great.
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Gangster Octopus
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A mate of mine was at the National last year, acting opposite ZoŽ Wanamaker in a Tennessee Williams play. Which wasn't too depressing...
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Ginger Yellow
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I saw Stoppard's Russian trilogy at the National. That's about political theorists, anyway, and it's very good.
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Purves Grundy
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The other thing we saw lately was the old warhorse "The Woman in Black". That was great fun in a kind of over-the-top M R James "It was a dark and stormy night" way. Definitely recommended.
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Andy C
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I've seen some good stuff at the Naional over the past couple of years. The £10 deal that comes from the Travelex sponsorship is can be one of the most fantastic bargains you can get anywhere.
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Purves Grundy
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Oh, I forgot to mention: Stephen Poliakoff was there. Very bent ears he has.
Posts: 7499 | From: A Gun | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lardinho
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The last bit of theatre about politics I saw at the National was the very brilliant (but perhaps not quite as brilliant as Copenhagen) Democracy by Michael Frayn.
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