at the Royal Court Theatre, Wednesday 5th February 2014
As much as I go on about form, presentation and theatricality, there can still be something supremely powerful in putting two characters in a room and having them talk something out. My favourite Mamet play, for example, is not Glengarry Glen Ross but Oleanna, where we see a professor and his student trying to grapple with the intricacies of their relationship. One of the great film trilogies, Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise series, has Jesse and Céline talk for hours about love, sex and trust. Abi Morgan’s The Mistress Contract follows in that tradition, attempting to understand the dynamics in a relationship between a man and a woman, but it never quite reaches the depth of those aforementioned works, and struggles to keep our attention over its ninety-minute running time. Continue reading
at the Royal Court Theatre, Friday 17th January 2013
…. out… of the darkness… a mouth… higher than we thought… muttering something… something about the world… what?… hell?… yes, maybe hell… speeding through… the… speeding through the wor-… the mouth… it clicks… claps… titters… the darkness consumes… stifling and… and… stifling and penetrating… no light like it… hard to tell whether or not the… hard to tell… clapping… mouthing the words through the blackness of… a cough… she’s a woman, a woman in the… only ten seconds gone… a voice which grates… woman in the darkness… something about God… back to the… did the light just move… something about… getting darker… unlike the darkness in… unlike the darkness in the night of the world… Continue reading
created by April de Angelis, Nessah Muthy and Wils Wilson
at the Royal Court Theatre, Thursday 28th November 2013
Let’s talk a bit about expectations.
For various reasons, Gastronauts is one of those shows about which you hear quite a lot before viewing, but not in a way that gives that much away. Before seeing it, for example, I’d heard the word “bugs” bandied about a few times, and the description of “a theatre adventure with food and music” threw up all sorts of exciting possibilities. The Guardian article about the show also discussed how the show would tackle food production and where our meals came from, whilst my previous experience of Wils Wilson’s work left me gagging for some exciting theatrics even though I wasn’t that keen on April de Angelis’ Jumpy.
Putting all those things together, I think what I expected what a spectacular theatre-cum-dining experience, where we would be forced to make ethical decisions about what was placed in front of us whilst discussing the issues with our fellow diners. I also expected to be frustrated or angered by decisions I or others made. Continue reading
at the Royal Court Theatre, Thursday 12th September 2013
Gorge Mastromas, the titular character of Dennis Kelly’s début at the Royal Court, lives his life according to three rules:
- Whenever you want something – take it.
- All that is required to take everything you want is absolute will and an ability to lie to the depths of your heart.
- The effectiveness of a lie is compromised only by your attachment to the outcome of the lie. Therefore never think of the outcome, always assume discovery, embrace each second as if it were your last. Never, ever, ever regret.
Now, much has already been written about the way in which The Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas acts as a morality play of late-twentieth and early-twenty-first century selfishness and where it can lead if stretched to extremes. Continue reading
at the Rose Lipman Building, Wednesday 24th July 2013
At the risk of being reductive, I realised during Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation that many plays and their productions can be reduced to three aspects; the core idea which drives the piece, the content of the play itself and its subsequent execution. In the case of CMT, the first and last of these three tenets are fulfilled brilliantly, allowing Baker to explore themes of the purpose of theatre and the consuming power of time in an extraordinarily simple way. Throughout, however, I couldn’t help feeling that though we had strong bones and a beautiful exterior, the flesh itself was not quite meaty enough.*
In a community centre, five people are playing a focus exercise at the beginning of a six-week course. Continue reading
created by David Greig and Wils Wilson
at the London Welsh Centre, Monday 15th July 2013
“National Theatre of Scotland cannot be held responsible in the event of any member of the audience losing their head, their heart or their very self during the course of the performance”
Last night I was a motorbike.
Part the First
During the first act of Prudencia Hart
An actor pretended I was his kart.
Falling beside me he whispered “Give me your arms”,
Then rose up behind and clamped his palms
Around my wrists.
Then proceeded to drive me, bike-like, with all sorts of twists.
For a few short seconds I was not me
But had surrendered myself to become part of theatre’s visual imagery. Continue reading