Macbeth – August 2013

Experience: 7/10

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Eve Best

Venue: Shakespeare’s Globe

Date: Wednesday 28th August 2013

Not bad for a first time director, though again the limited view reduced our enjoyment. We sat in a Gentlemen’s box on the right side of the stage, and from our position there were no entrances in sight at all. The stage had been extended forward with a semi-circle which had steps down to left and right. There were similar steps on each side of the stage near the front, while the pillars had sizeable steps set into their bases which allowed for climbing. At the back of the stage were some walls which looked like they were made of wooden planks; they jutted out into the stage and had jagged tops as well, which reminded us of a crown as well as a wooden palisade. At the base of the walls were small piles of mud or soil (detachable, as we saw later) and the walls themselves had muddy stains tapering off about half way up. The planks had been painted white, and were aged and weathered. The trunks of the pillars were wrapped in covers stained to echo this effect.

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The Resistible Rise Of Arturo Ui – August 2013

Experience: 8/10

Written by Bertolt Brecht, translated by George Tabori and revised by Alistair Beaton

Directed by Jonathan Church

Venue: Minerva Theatre

Date: Thursday 22nd August 2013

Having seen this last year, we were keen to see how it had changed in revival. With most of the original cast back in harness, rehearsals were presumably more straightforward, but there were a few new actors to add in to the mix who could add a fresh take – what would we see tonight?

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A Chorus Line – August 2013

Experience: 8/10

Conceived and originally directed and choreographed by Michael Bennett

Book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante

Music by Marvin Hamlisch

Lyrics by Edward Kleban

Originally co-choreographed by Bob Avian

Directed by Bob Avian

Venue: London Palladium

Date: Wednesday 21st August 2013

This isn’t my favourite musical, but Steve likes it a lot so I was happy to join him on a visit to the West End to catch this production. I’m still not smitten; I recognise the originality of the style and content, and the music is better than average with some good humour and several very moving scenes, but I found it hard to fully engage with most of the characters, especially when some of them had very little time in the spotlight. Steve enjoyed it more than I did, and as it was his choice I’ve put his rating on the experience; I would have gone for 7/10.

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Hamlet – August 2013

Experience: 9/10

By William Shakespeare

Directed by David Farr

Venue: RST

Date: Thursday 15th August 2013

The Prince is now in the building! After our earlier visits in March and May had left us wondering if Jonathan Slinger would ever get his performance together, I’m delighted to report that his Hamlet is now alive and kicking until the final seconds of this splendid production. With the rest of the cast putting their all into the show, this is one of the strongest versions of Hamlet we’ve seen. Tonight we sat by the right hand walkway, with a good view across the stage diagonal. Some extra aspects were clearer from this angle, and although there were one or two minor changes to the staging, on the whole the production was as I noted it up before. The strength of the central performance was the main difference, and it changed the standard tremendously.

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Titus Andronicus – August 2013

Experience: 8/10

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Michael Fentiman

Venue: Swan Theatre

Date: Tuesday 13th August 2013

Our final time of seeing this production this year, and I was a bit worried we were doing one too many. Would it still be as enjoyable as before? We were at the front on the left side, so my seat wasn’t the most comfortable because I had to twist to my left to see most of the action. I’d also forgotten my hearing aids altogether and had to get a headset for the second half so our expectations were low, but we needn’t have worried. This performance was as good as before, with more detail visible from our side angle and even more improvement in the performances.

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As You Like It – August 2013

Experience: 7/10

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Maria Aberg

Venue: RST

Date: Monday 12th August 2013

Our view was completely different again from our previous two visits, as we were up in the circle. Despite having a good view, I did feel a bit distanced from the production as I couldn’t see the actors’ expressions clearly – we’ve become terribly spoilt in recent years. There was more detail in some parts of the performance, but on the whole it was much the same as before, and without the surprise value I didn’t find it as uplifting as last time, hence the reduced rating.

Adam was clearly getting a little fed up with Orlando’s whinging after so many performances, as he joined in the “a thousand crowns” tonight like he’d already heard the story a thousand times. Oliver hit Orlando after the line “What, boy!”, and when he was talking with Charles later, I noticed he wrote something in a notebook after thanking the wrestler and saying he would requite him – a reminder to reward Charles in future perhaps? Charles hit Oliver on the shoulder in a friendly way before he left, but it was still a bit too hard for Oliver’s liking.

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King Lear – August 2013

Experience: 7/10

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Lucy Bailey

Company: Theatre Royal Bath Productions

Venue: Theatre Royal Bath

Date: Thursday 8th August 2013

We weren’t sure what to expect from this Lucy Bailey production as we’d had such mixed experiences with her work in the past. Tonight the technical side of things was a bit hit-and-miss, and while the setting worked OK overall, there were areas where the text jarred with the actions, the accents and the characters. Having said that, there were some very good performances to enjoy and some nice touches in the staging, so all in all it was worth the trip. It was also our first time in Bath’s Theatre Royal and it was a weird experience, looking at all the pictures of past productions and realising we’d seen about half of them, despite never having been here before. The theatre itself was comfortable and, despite the minimal toilet facilities for women, a pleasant experience.

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