:: Encore Theatre Magazine :::: British Theatre: Polemics & Positions ::
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:: Monday, November 13, 2006 ::
Frost/Nixon would get my vote having seen all three. It's historical and political power gave it gravitas the other two just marginally lacked.
Just grateful Caryl Churchill's new play is not up there. Drunk Enough To Say I Love You at the Royal Court is excrutiatingly tedious.
What about Simon Stephens' 'Motortown'? I agree that 'The Cut' was unfairly slated by many of the critics. They praised the acting while laying abuse upon the script, when I thought if anything the script was not done full justice by Deborah Findlay at least on the performance I saw. It was, however, a curiously old-fashioned play, reminiscent I thought of some of more political French plays of the 1950s. 'Motortown', on the other hand, was fiercely contemporary both on the page and in production. And, talking of productions, the greatest of the year has yet to find a London home - John Tiffany's astonishing 'Blackwatch'.
It certainly wasn't one of the best productions of the year, and - by any qualification criterea other than those of The Standard - it was a play of 2005, but David Harrower's 'Blackbird' has a rare sense of wholly unsentimental humanity that makes it one of the plays of the year. I predict that in 20 years time somebody will direct it in an unshowy way and its true merit will be more readily apparant
I agree about Motortown. A great evening - but a lasting evening? Well, we'll see. Blackbird doesn't count as a 2006 show, unless you think Scotland's a preview for London. Black Watch will be in London next year, of course. Watch the Imperial War Museum for details!
Is it the Standard's remit to only deal with London shows? If so, it excuses the omission of Black Watch, Realism, Unprotected, amongst others, but not The Cut or Motortown, which incidentally I do think has lasting resonance - the final scene between Danny and Lee in particular. I look forward to a decent production of Blackbird, though it's by no means a 2006 show, nor is David Greig's astonishing 'The American Pilot' though it deserved to have a much longer London run.
As I recall, in 1999 (the year when there was no play deemed sufficiently good enough for the prize) Simon Gray's The Late Middle Classes would have won had the Richmond Theatre been decreed to be in a part of London, not Surrey. The qualification for the Olivier is even sillier, where plays at the Court downstairs are permitted, but those Upstairs disallowed.
If The Late Middle Classes had won, that would have been a sorry statement about British playwriting. I saw that play 7 times for professional reasons, and it got worse with every viewing. Wasn't 1999 the year of Grieg's The Cosmonaut's Message to the Woman in the Soviet Union play?
True. Cosmonaut was 1999. The judges who decided that no play worth the title had been written were Susannah Clapp, Nicholas de Jongh, Benedict Nightingale, Jane Edwardes, Paul Taylor, with Max Hastings chairing. Total arseholes for that decision, unfortunately, even though I usually have time for a couple of those people.
Ah those critics are the devil's minions! They 'slammed' Pool(no water) as much as they did the cut and for similar reasons; inability to read between the lines, to burst the convention bubble, wake up Mr. Billington, it's time to wake up!
pool (no water) was tedious and the movement wasn't properly integrated with the sorry excuse for a plot. Ravenhill's prolific but uneven. He always has been. He also tends to write things that already seem dated (or at least he has since Shopping and Fucking, which in my view has now dated enormously precisely because it was so self-consciously contemporary at the time).
sadly, the critics were mostly right about 'the cut'. it's fine (preferable, i think) to write a play that leaves itself open to interpretation, rather than explaining itself - but it still needs to create some tension, somewhere, give some sense of life, have coherence (of character, of metaphor) within itself - and 'the cut' had none of this. it was dead, and boring, and didn't make much sense, whichever way you looked at it. ravenhill's best work recently was his play for the connections season at the nt
I'm devastated to have to agree with city slicker's assessment of caryl churchill's latest. it's shrill, blunt and most surprisingly, shockingly simplistic. it's also deadeningly unfunny. plays almost like tony kushner, at his mind-numbingly blunt best, had a go at writing a caryl churchill play. incredibly disappointing.
And who wins Best Play? Rock and bloody Roll of course. Sadly predictable. It's an indictment of the state we're in. And, yes, sadly Caryl Churchill's new play is a huge disappointment.Post a Comment