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I got back from London on Monday and have been running ever since - I missed a week of work and classes and catching up is just brutal.

So, yeah, I was in London for a week, staying with [livejournal.com profile] aegeus and [livejournal.com profile] titanic_days (who are lovely hosts ♥ and have a great flat and I adore the area where they live - I spent a day just knocking from shop to coffee shop to shop in their area and it was lovely). [livejournal.com profile] meggitymeg came down for a few days, too, and we spent an afternoon with [livejournal.com profile] malachan and I had lunch with Reene-who-is-no-longer-on-LJ (but did send her best to those of you who knew her!) and I saw a whole, whole lot of plays.

Quickly, because I have to run off and read 300 pages of theory by 6:30p.

Company - small revival at Southwark Playhouse, which is a great space, and although there were a few lingering tech issues (first night of previews), I enjoyed the hell out of this. The only performance issue I had is that Siobhan McCarthy I think overplayed it as Joanne - I'm pretty sure what she's trying to do during her songs is play boozy and broken and tuneless, but she was SO out of tune and pitchy that the performances were incredibly painful to sit through, and I was so busy trying not to shift uncomfortably that I had a hard time listening through the lyrics. Rupert Young (SIR LEON!!! <3) was surprisingly fantastic. Good start all around.

Clybourne Park - I first saw this play here in DC when Woolly Mammoth was producing it and loved it so much I spent most of last spring thinking and writing about it. I was really anxious to see how it would play in the UK and it was fine - this is a great production and although I do think some of the really local issues (I'm pretty sure the UK never experienced white flight to as great a degree as the US did) were a bit lost on some of the audience, I felt like I really GOT this play better this time around; Norris spends a whole lot of time burying the themes of the second act under some hysterically racist jokes and it's not at ALL clear unless you're really paying attention (or have been through this material before) how much of the text here is covertly about class discomfort. The very last scene still troubles me - I'm frankly not sure what to do with it - but I'm looking forward to Woolly's remounting this summer to take a 3rd crack at it and try to figure out what he's doing there. There is SO MUCH to love about this play, and one thing this production REALLY did that was interesting is to play up the degradation of the house between the first and second acts - it really undermines so much of what Lena is trying to imply about Lindsay and Steve's plan for the property. Anyway. None of that made sense if you don't know the play WHICH IS WHY YOU SHOULD GO SEE IT IF YOU HAVE THE CHANCE. DC, it is coming back so NO EXCUSES FROM YOU LOT.

Season's Greetings - this is nearing the end of its run and you could feel it - not in a bad way, but it ran incredibly smoothly. Loved the set design (with just one small quibble), loved the performances, and except for one part of the second act when one actor got a bit too quiet to carry off Ayckbourn's overlapping dialogue, I really enjoyed it. I did find myself a bit bored at the beginning, but I think that was just me - the pacing at the start of these kitchen sinky dramas is always challenging.

Frankenstein - so, there's not much I can say about this that wasn't already covered by my incoherent rant on twitter and over at [livejournal.com profile] morganmuffle's LJ. In short: enormous production values, killer cast and production team, TERRIBLE TERRIBLE OMG SO BAD SCRIPT, and I just find that unforgivable. Basically, I feel like this is well-trod material and you can't just take a book and faithfully adapt it for the stage without adding something new to the conversation about the issues. And these are INCREDIBLY RELEVANT issues and I'm pissed that they let an opportunity like this slip through their fingers without really getting dirty with them - and with such painfully stilted dialogue. Shame on you, Nick Dear. The performances were fantastic, though, especially considering it was the first night of previews, and, in other news, I DID spend about 20 minutes in a room with a naked Benedict Cumberbatch and yes, the man is fine. Nice ass, dude. Thanks for that.

So, yeah, good week. And now I have to run away because I am so overbooked this week. Love you guys! ♥
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April 2011

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