Sneak Preview Reviews: Escaped Alone; The Picture of Dorian Gray; The Master Builder;; Evening at the Talk House; Iphigenia in Spott

by Lynn on January 30, 2016

in The Passionate Playgoer

Escaped Alone

At the Royal Court Theatre, London, England.

By Caryl Churchill

Fifty minutes of compelling, challenging Churchill. Four women of a certain age drink tea in the back yard of one of them quietly talking about their lives. One of them adds the horrors that are going on outside of that quiet back yard. Part of the dialogue is reminiscent of Mamet’s jump-cut dialogue, part is pure Churchill, reminiscent of Far Away. She dazzles with dialogue. The acting is supberb.

The Picture of Dorian Gray

At the Trafalgar Studios.

Earnest and dreary. An adaptation that grates with so many Oscar Wilde quotes you want to whack the adapter with the picture of Dorian and get out of there.

The Master Builder

At the Old Vic

By Ibsen, adapted by David Hare

Directed by Matthew Warchus

In previews so they are finding their way until they open on Wednesday. But….I doubt that the hideous, overpowering set will get better—perhaps a lit match might help. The direction by Matthew Warchus is pedestrian. Characters are a stage width apart when they speak to each other, to indicate they are distant. DUH!

The acting by Ralph Fiennes as the Master Builder is stodgy, stilted and stiff. And he poses so uncomfortably it’s like watching R2D2 do the role. The young woman playing Hilda has an annoying habit of putting both hands up and holding the back of her head in some kind of alluring stance that makes me think she’s posing for porn pictures or an underwear ad. Only Linda Emond as Mrs. Master Builder is credible.

At the National Theatre

Wonderful, compelling creation that uses Alice in Wonderland as its framework, only set in the present in which addiction to cell phones and video games takes Aly (Alice) down the rabbit hole to a wonder land in which she isn’t bullied, harassed and made to feel inadequate. And it’s a musical with clever lyrics. Speaks to today. It gets muddy in the middle but there are creative brains at work here. Directed by Rufus Norris.

Evening at the Talk House

At the Dorfman Theatre of the National Theatre

Written by Wallace Shawn

Directed by Ian Rickson

A mind-numbing play trying to be provocative and failing. People have secret jobs targeting unsuspecting people of note and killing them, for no other reason than people don’t like them. A group of actors, a writer and director meet to celebrate 10 years of a tv show they did. By all accounts it was awful and the people went on to great careers doing crap. The acting is overwrought except in the case of Wallace Shawn who also acts in it. In his case his acting is just dreadful.

Hideous experience. Life shortening. Feh

Iphigenia in Splott

Written by Gary Owen

Directed by Rachel O’Riordan

Starring: Sophie Melville.

From the text: “Effie is the kind of girl you’d avoid eye contact with, silently passing judgement. We think we know her but, but we don’t know her.” She lives a life of drink, drugs, anger and drama every day. Then she has a chance to change that. Searing, compelling, gripping, heart squeezing.
Sophie Melville is astonishing.

Full reviews to come shortly.

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