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Farewell to the Theatre – review
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Farewell to the Theatre; A Provincial Life; Going Dark – review
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- Farewell to - theatre performance!
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- Carol Medley (Hark! the Herald Angels Sing/O Come, All Ye Faithful/The First Noel) - Alto Saxophone.
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Try for free Already registered? Log in. Delete Comment Are you sure you want to delete this comment? Delete comment Cancel. A Dickens monologuist Jason Watkins who is most fully alive when being someone else is revealed as a comic who conceals tragedy. Ben Chaplin enhances his uncanny physical resemblance long jaw, long limbs, period dolefulness to Granville Barker with a manner both languid and acidic.
Farewell to the Theatre - The Bespoke Black Book
Jemma Redgrave's mournful landlady expresses herself not so much by speaking as watching: her dogged, quiet presence — as a vigilant, suspicious audience — becomes more and more weighty. Even the scene-changes — this is a piece for people who are or who are prepared to be interested in the theatre — are eloquent.
Farewell to the Theatre could not have existed without Chekhov, to whom acknowledgment is made. Michell's graceful production has some of the qualities of the mighty but meticulous Peter Gill, who now stages a work for the first time in his year-long career in his home town of Cardiff. A Provincial Life is a departure for the National Theatre of Wales, who usually move from open spaces to unpurpose-built halls, but are now in the gleaming comfort of the handsomely renovated Sherman Cymru. And it's a strange piece. In his restless dissatisfaction he has something of the hero of Chekhov's later play Ivanov — and of Chekhov himself.
This is an exceptionally interesting piece of work, partly because of the Chekhov echoes — not least in the nuttiness of a character who snatches flies from the air to eat but complains that he finds them "rather sour" — partly because of the resonance for a generation questioning their affluent baby-boomer parents, and partly because of its eloquent detail, which tells of houses smelling of beetroot soup and a man brooding in the sooty night over the "little scissors" in a workbox.
It paints both dullness and savagery: whole childhoods are devoted to torturing animals, whole adulthoods to grinding labour. It's rendered here with mixed results. The delivery of speeches with the exception of a wonderful Welsh babushka is often so strangulated that each scene sounds formal and extended. Yet in Alison Chitty's beautiful bare and open design the play moves with a marvellous freedom: scythers walk in rhythm across a field; families cluster miserably around a stove; the sense of small episodes in a massive space has rarely been so powerfully summoned.
The studio space has already gone dark for Going Dark : as you wait for something to cut through the blackness, you are compelled to decide where you are — perhaps in a cave, but a cave whose ceiling could be rock or fabric; everything above you is uncertain. This is what the world might be like if you are going blind; and as it might be when you are trying to make sense of the stars. Here the spectators are sunk in the fate of a single father who tries to look at the stars while he is losing his sight: no holds are barred on pathos — he's such a decent chap that he hardly ever gets grumpy either with his son or his parents.
There are a couple of blunders.