The Play’s the Thing

Richard Bean, One Man, Two Guvnors (based on Carlo Goldoni, The Servant of Two Masters, directed by Nicholas Hytner, National Theatre Live)
Robert Louis Stevenson, adapted by Bryony Lavery, Treasure Island (directed by Polly Findlay, National Theatre Live)
Mary Shelley, adapted by Nick Dear, Frankenstein (directed by Danny Boyle, National Theatre Live)
William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night (directed by Simon Godwin, National Theatre Live)
William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, The Two Noble Kinsmen (directed by Barry Rutter, Globe)
William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra (directed by Simon Godwin, National Theatre Live)
William Shakespeare, Macbeth (directed by Cressida Brown, Globe)
Inua Ellams, Barber Shop Chronicles (directed by Bijan Sheibani, National Theatre Live)

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Monstrous Progeny

Mary Shelley, mucked about with adapted by Nick Dear, Frankenstein (Directed by Danny Boyle, National Theatre Live via YouTube)

Years ago, there was a series of documentaries on the gothic horror novel presented by Christopher Frayling – Frankenstein, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Dracula and The Hound of the Baskervilles. Each of these narratives have passed into public consciousness, far beyond those who have read them – often via plays – and, with the arguable exception of the last, in forms that corrupt the author’s original structure. Despite at least two great franchises – from Universal in the 1930s and from Hammer in the 1950s – Frankenstein adaptations are travesties of Mary Shelley’s vision.

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A Caller Calls

Friedrich Dürrenmatt, adapted by Tony Kushner, The Visit, or the Old Lady Comes to Call (directed by Jeremy Herrin, National Theatre, London)

Slurry is a mixture of solids suspended in a liquid, but I guess we tend to think of manure. It’s also the name of a town in New York State which by 1955 is almost bankrupt. The trains rarely stop there, the factories have all closed and the bailiffs are circling.
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The Peter Unprinciple

David Hare after Henrik Ibsen, Peter Gynt (Directed by Jonathan Kent, Olivier Theatre, National Theatre)

Several things occurred to me whilst waiting for this play to start: the auditorium was not much more than half full; I probably hadn’t been here since the Dench/Hopkins Antony and Cleopatra; and I had no idea what this play was about.

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