Alfie – February 2010

6/10

By Bill Naughton

Directed by Adrian McDougall

Company: Blackeyed Theatre

Venue: Connaught Theatre

Date: Thursday 11th February 2010

The main problem with this performance was the sparse response from the audience. The cast did their best, but with such a small turnout we couldn’t get any atmosphere going until nearly the end, and then the abortion section took all the fun out of things.

Neither Steve nor I have watched the film all the way through (it’s impossible not to have seen clips) but since the story was familiar we reckon we may have seen the play years ago. The vast Connaught stage had no trouble holding the various chairs, tables, beds and other paraphernalia needed for the production and still had plenty of room for the band at the back. The pauses between scenes were often covered by music, but they still slowed things up too much for me. Again, the size of the stage didn’t help them, as they had even further to push or carry the furniture.

There were only five actors in the cast so there was plenty of doubling, and I thought they all did their characters very well. Edward Elks as Alfie was very good, delivering his lines well and getting across the inner emptiness of Alfie’s life of ‘pleasure’. The chauvinist attitudes are largely out-of-date, and so too hopefully is the passive acceptance by the women, though I suspect there’s more of both about than I would like. The change in perspectives probably also contributed to the lack of response, as it was hard sometimes to find Alfie’s banter funny. This production is mainly touring to smaller places and I expect a more intimate venue would improve the experience tremendously.

© 2010 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me

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