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[personal profile] altogetherisi
 Dear god, this post got really really long. 
Right. So. Let's do this thing!

Yesterday, I went to the first performance of Much Ado About Nothing with David Tennant and Catherine Tate at Wyndham's Theatre. I had a great time, everything was very enjoyable. I met up with londonsusannah and the seats were great. I have this feeling that I've been to Wyndham's before, but if that's the case I just can't remember what for. Or perhaps there are some theatres that look exactly the same? I'm not sure. I'd left time to wander around looking for the theatre, but when Google Maps had said the theatre was right next to the tube exit, they really weren't kidding. It was right there, bam, Catherine Tate's massive beautiful face right next to me. So awesome.

I briefly walked around the building, so I could find out where the stage door was, and was slightly surprised to see a fair few people (~10-15) hanging out at the barriers already. Many had tickets, so I don't know what they were expecting to gain - I've never heard of people coming out and signing before a performance (does that happen?) and I'm sure the actors would have arrived many hours before, so they wouldn't catch them going in. I dunno. Probably just random optimism or something.

So I went to find londonsusannah in a little cafe/bar, and we chatted a little (I was all excited so babbled a bit I think!) and went into the theatre. She got champagne, which came with a plastic flute you could take into the theatre, but in a glass bottle, which you couldn't. So that didn't quite seem to make sense, but whatever, she got it decanted.

The show. Well. First off, the show was very, very funny. Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare's comedies, and I've seen it referred to as the original romantic comedy, and they seriously went for humour in this production. Which, to me at least, was an interesting stylistic choice, because when we were studying it I don't think anyone ever thought it was particularly hilarious, and most of the time I think people put more emphasis on the romance, and on the relationships, whereas here I felt like almost everything else in the play came second to the humour. I think that made some scenes stronger, but I do also feel like certain bits lost out. Ah well. But yes - this play was funny, and the audience was roaring with laughter an awful lot.

The other major stylistic/directorial decision was the use of music in the production. There was a lot of music - much more than I might have expected. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't like a musical or anything, but it was like, the music they played when scenes were changing crept into the periphary of the play and therefore smoothed it all out a bit in that regard. Of course, Much Ado has two big party scenes, and in the middle also the slightly random song that often throws off productions. Because you're like text, text, text, speech, speech, speech, random song! And it can be jarring. But since there was more music involved generally, that part felt much more well suited to the play as a whole, and I personally really appreciated that. So even though at first I was a bit like, um, why is this happening, I felt it was a really good and interesting decision.
What they did - this section contains SPECIFIC PRODUCTION SPOILERS such as Catherine wore this, David had that prop, so if you don't want to know SPECIFIC PRODUCTION SPOILERS because you're going and you want the surprise, y'know, don't read this section. Also, obviously, there are PLOT SPOILERS, but dude, do I really need to warn for for freaking Much Ado? Anyway, I did, I hope everyone is happy.
DAVID TENNANT DID A SCENE IN DRAG. JSYK. This was very important to me.

The stage had four moveable columns things, which were actually boxy - ie, they had four flat sides, they weren't cyclindrical as you might imagine from me calling them columns. These were mainly used to split the stage and for most scenes, only part of the stage would be used. The main part of the stage rotated, which was cool because it meant scenes could be altered in the main quickly and somewhat subtlely, and also, allowed characters to move away from main action and have the stage rotated to keep them in the foreground. Which is an effect that is very easy to do with cameras, because cameras just follow the actors, but is tricky to manage on stage, so kudos. Also, the columns were used to hide behind, that was fun (there is a lot of people hiding behind stuff and eavesdropping in this play, ok. A lot.) The backdrop were large white shutters, which lent a vaguely Mediterranean sense while not imposing anything. Much Ado is supposedly set in Italy I think, Messina, but that's not really important. The flags on the golf cart were Union Flags.Oh wait, did I say golf cart?! Yes. Yes I did. David Tennant entered by driving a golf cart festooned with flags onto the stage. It was hilarious.
Other hilarious things included: 
David Tennant in DRAG. 
David Tennant COVERED IN PAINT. 
Each of DAVID'S FACES. All the faces, seriously.
OK, I just had to let that out.  
Let me talk about the costuming for a while. Yes, because I want to talk about David Tennant in drag a bit more, what of it. OK, this is what he wore in that scene - bright crimson DMs, black lace footless tights, the shortest denim skirt (Amy Pond would be embarrassed), a tight purple lace long sleeved top, with a cropped sparkly black T shirt over the top, and some kind of bra get up to give him some boob shape, and a blonde curly wig. It was absolutely hysterical. HYSTERICAL.
OK, I'm calmer now. Costuming generally. The play was kinda vaguely 80s, I think. Possibly late 70s, maybe I got that wrong, but I was getting 80s vibes. The boy in particular had period toys - a Rubiks cube, a particular type of like, hand held basic computer game thing, etc. And god, the clothes. Hero wore a lot of pink. Catherine's Beatrice was the only female that wore trousers - general ones, and dungerees, and a suit drag kind style that was Michael Jackson esque (white socks!) for the party scene. This was particularly awesome, because it was like, yay Beatrice crossdressing! ...OMG Benedick also crossdressing!! Plus, as per usual, Beatrice pulled off her outfit, whereas Benedick... not so much. I mean. It was funny, so so funny, but it didn't look good. Whereas Catherine's Beatrice in her suit? Totally looked gooood.

She also had these two dresses for each wedding scene, identical but one blue, one black, that looked great on her, lovely cut that made her look smart and powerful and entirely feminine and gorgeous. 
Dear god but Hero, for her wedding, was wearing Diana's dress! I nearly died. 
They genderswapped Antonio, Leonato's brother, into Imogen, Leonato's wife, and she had a nice mother of the bride dress (was I imagining that it looked similar to what Carole Middleton wore?) and a truly horribly "It's the 80s!" shapeless, brightly coloured maxi dress, and a hilarious Cleopatra get up for the party scene. Margaret was generally dressed cutely, Ursula was older and frumpy.
Right, that's the women. Can I talk about the men now. By which I mean, OMG CLAUDIO'S THIGHS.
I don't like Claudio much as a character, um obviously, but the actor playing him had a cute face, a nice torso, and really really good thighs.  The 80s = men in shorts that are actually short = NICE THIGHS XD. Am I objectifying him too much? Those legs were fiiiiiiiine. Readers, there was oogling. I shall describe them - muscled and shapely, in a strapping male way, golden tan, and pretty much hairless. Cute calves too, but yeah, the thighs were trying to steal my attention and this was the same scene where David Tennant ended up COVERED IN PAINT. So for anything to distract from that and/or keep your attention while increasingly-covered-in-paint!David was hiding behind a column, well, that's an achievement.
It was a great scene, frankly.
David was in tight-ish cut off jean shorts himself in that scene, which were also somewhat appreciated, and a Superman T-shirt. The paint was basically hilarious - he gets it on his hand, and then it slowly gets all over his T-shirt, all of his face, down his arm, in his glorious hair... I can't  remember if it was on his shorts, but probably. It was very funny physical comedy, and also served well as a visual metaphor (as Benedick stops caring about what he looks like and presenting himself as Superman as he gives in and falls in love, natch.) and y'know. And excuse for David to make all kinds of wonderful "oh shit I'm covered in paint" faces. 
When the soldiers were in uniform, it was a mainly white deal that. Well, to me, looked exactly like the Greek port police. If anyone knows what they look like. Basically though, the uniform kinda reminded me simultaneously of sailors and commercial airline pilots, but it totally worked, especially the smarter version they wore with swords and sashes to the (first) wedding scene. Er... I feel like there was something else I wanted to say about the costumes, hmmm.
Well, whatever. Props! I shall take this moment to talk about how Catherine's Beatrice got suspended on a pulley system, because that was wonderful physical comedy. I guessed that was going to happen the minute you see a big pulley system with one end free, and that *cough* she had a harness on with like, a big loose loop at the back, and they wouldn't have done that without the purpose of... yep, there she goes! So, that was hilarious. And then, after, Catherine got stuck, poor thing. Only for a brief couple of moments, but yeah, she struggled to get it to come undone a little and shook it and said "begone!" - once it was off, we all gave her an extra round of applause, lol.
I also loved that during the "Benedick fails at writing love poetry (lol Shakespeare, you so meta and self aware!)" they gave David a little electronic keyboard thing to tinkle on. I loved in Hamlet when he played the recorder and I loved in Much Ado with him playing this keyboard. He's failing to write a poem/song, to the tune of When All The Saints, and it's a lovely funny scene, and then he gets it stuck playing something and can't turn it off until the boy comes and shows him, like all highly suffering children with technology failing adults everywhere. Adorable. The golf cart though, really was the most lolarious prop ever. The shock and ridiculousness of it really helped set the tone for Benedick and for the play in general. 
OK, that's enough about scenery and costumes and plot. Now I shall discuss the actual acting!
Ahahaha, and I thought I was maybe done with this post. Nope, N-O, no sir.
David and Catherine were great. David was using his Scottish accent - or at least, a Scottish accent, it seemed slightly played up in places, mainly at the beginning. That was probably a Benedick thing though rather than a David thing - and both he and Catherine had a slight air of self awareness that I liked. Both of them, but no other character, would look out at the audience, especially to pull faces. It worked well since Benedick and Beatrice speak to the audience/ think aloud in a way that the other characters don't, so setting them slightly aside worked out well. And also, of course, frankly, it was David and Catherine that the vast majority of the audience is coming to see, there giant faces on the posters, so the audience was particularly receptive to them talking out to us.
When, first David's Benedick, and then Catherine's Beatrice each announce to us that they love the other, there were extra special rounds of applause.
So yeah, what I'm trying to say was that, their acting was very good, it conveyed everything it needed to and I enjoyed what it was adding to the material, how they fleshed it out into mannerisms etc, but in some ways I'd say it was studied (ie intentionally) slightly shallow acting, like I felt you could always see the edges of David and Catherine coming through. Which, I stress, was a good thing. A very good thing. But it was deep and all encompassing character acting, is my point. But that wasn't at all a bad thing. Instead of trying to get away from themselves, which would have been difficult and probably not entirely achieved in a comedy, they used themselves for the benefit of adding to the character acting, rather than having it block the character. 
And yeah. They were great, swinging through big and outrageous to small and subtle, funny and aggressive and playful and loving. Great performances, and wonderfully balanced between them. On their own... I'd say David was a touch better, just because he's better at doing an awful lot when it's just him on stage, he's slightly more fluent and can pick up the audience and take us where he wants to effortlessly. Which is awesome, obviously. Catherine was very very good at reacting to other people and the scenes between her and David were really great. But she's not quite as good yet when it's just her, the sole subject on stage. Catherine *was* perfectly good at this, but David is just masterful. And that's probably just because he has a bit more leading stage experience. 
The other actors. Were all good. Particular props go to the guy playing Don Pedro, who after Benedick and Beatrice has the character with the most range. I thought it was really interesting how they did the scene when Don Pedro proposes to Beatrice, because that's a really tricky scene and a lot of people interpret it differently - is he kidding? Is he serious? Does he love her? Is it purely a device to demonstrate Beatrice's attitude to marriage, lacking love, extends even to a Prince? I think I'm right in saying it's the only time in the play Beatrice and Don Pedro directly interact - isn't that fascinating. After Beatrice rejects Don Pedro, he throws himself into getting her together with Benedick - but at the end of the play, when Benedick and Beatrice have decided to get married and are all happy together, Don Pedro alone is somewhat saddened. Hmmmmmm. Actual continuing unrequited crush, perhaps?
Anyway basically I have a thoughtful soft spot for Don Pedro's character and appreciated that he was IMO acted very well.
Claudio... ok, so I don't like Claudio really (and honestly, who does. No one. Apart from Don Pedro XD ) but I thought the guy played him well. Aside from having great thighs, he did well at the whole "I'm angsting because Pedro has stolen my girl" scene, and there was real venom for that most epic of lines "Take back this rotten orange!" His best scene though, seriously, was in the monument - not the elegy, but after, he was in there on his own, with a boom box and drinking heavily and pain in his eyes, and I don't really know how they pulled it off because part of me was like "uh, ridiculousness approaching dangerous levels" and yet and yet and yet... a much bigger part of me really, really liked that scene, what the director chose to do there. Also, I really want to know what the music he/they were playing, I liked it. 
Oh and, he looked very uh, *cough* hot submissive fetching *cough* blindfolded and tied to a chair with his shirt undone. Yeeeeeah. The director gave us a stag night and a hen night! With strippers! And Don Pedro pouring alcohol into Claudio's mouth, with his head tipped back, neck all exposed and vulnerable... Ahem. Yeah, so. That was a fun scene. And made the whole "and now I'll just sleep with Margaret in a way that suggests it's Hero" thing ACTUALLY MAKE SENSE which by the way, I  have never seen in any other production or adaption, seriously. Kudos, Josie Rourke, kudos for you. Plus it explained why for like that one particular night Beatrice wasn't Hero's bedfellow - because Catherine's Beatrice, swaying around in dungerees and clutching a bottle, stayed out all night, aw I love you Beatrice. SO MUCH.
Hero is a thankless part, but it was acted nicely and she pulled off looking absolutely stricken and pleading with her father in the (first) wedding scene, and that's pretty much the make it or break scene for Hero, so. I guess she kissed Claudio well? That's a weird thing to type. 
Don John was interesting - played as a short man and somewhat twitchy and uncomfortable, the director didn't embellish his character at all. Fine, whatever. If I was directing, I'd love love love to do Much Ado with a gender swapped Don John (Don Joanna?!), I think that would be fascinating. Similarly, the parents were pretty generic (except, you know, they'd gender swapped Antonio, Leonato's brother, into Imogen, Leonato's wife, but yeah. No one cared.) and, well, so was everyone else really. Except the boy! Because he was awesome, so much attitude! Loved that.
Right, now I can get onto talking about the Watch. Ahahaha, the Prince's Watch. Dogsbody is such a marvellous comic character, and it's interesting, if you consider him to be basically a comic relief device whose main dramatic purpose is to simultaneously amuse the groundlings and to amuse the middle and higher classes, by allowing them to laugh at people like the groundlings and feel superior, (Jeremy Kyle owes so much to Shakespeare, I'm telling you) that he, and the Watch generally, are actually the heroes of the piece. One Prince is the villain, while the other Prince, the Count, and the Governor of Messina all believe the slander (at least, at first, in Leonato's case) and turn on Hero very nastily indeed. Those that are most highborn and those you hope and expect to be wise and fair are shown as quick to judge and cruel to condemn. While the working class Prince's Watch, the bumbling, silly, self important and utterly dismissable Prince's Watch, means well and does their best and saves the day. There's a message in there. (God, Shakespeare, I love you so freaking much, OK.)
Anyway, so, how they did the Watch. I loved it, basically. The flip chart!  The florescent jackets! The torch! Dogsbody wearing army surplus stuff! *brofist* Boom! It was so sweet and funny. But. I feel like the audience did not appreciate them :( Because, here's the thing. This play is a comedy. But the Prince's Watch are meant to be a big source of that comedy. And I felt a) because the director had played up humour so much in the play already, and seriously, the audience had been laughing a lot, after getting comfortable laughing at David Tennant and Catherine Tate, there was a slight feeling of "why are we now laughing at these randomers?" feeling; and b) the play really played up to physical comedy, and that's great - it's great because the director can't change the lines to put in more jokes, and also, with physical comedy, there is very little chance that you will miss the next funny thing because you are already laughing too much from the previous funny thing, which can be a hazard with speech based comedy and wit -  but I feel like this kinda got the audience into gear for expecting physical comedy, and I dunno, I just got the impression most of them either missed many or simply didn't appreciate all the funny lines that were said because they were only paying attention to the funny props and bumbling etc. Maybe there was also a bit of a feeling that we, the audience, rather than needing a comic relief actually somewhat needed a relief from the comedy at that point. But yeah, I felt like they were unappreciated somewhat.
Which brings me neatly onto the flaws of the production. All this is my opinion and only my opinion of course. It was a very good play, but it certainly wasn't flawless.
Mainly it comes down to artistic differences - I think in some ways they, and by "they" I suppose I mean the director, went too hard on the comedy. The play is called a comedy, and this was the most overly humorous adaptation I've come across, even farcical at points. And while I enjoyed that most of the time, I feel like it detracted from some scenes; some moments that, in my interpretation ought to be serious, ought to be touching, were lacking and thus reduced. And, as I said before, I feel like in some instances the physical nature of the comedy incorporated led to distraction from certain lines and parts of the text. I mean, there are three things at work here: the director's intention, the actor's action, and the audience's reaction. And it's not (entirely!) the fault of the actor or director if the audience reacts differently than they were expecting, if they laughed harder in some places. But still. 
When Beatrice asked Benedick to "Kill Claudio" it was played for laughs, and it received them. But I disagree that it ought to have been, and that makes me slightly :( When Benedick said "Who could love me?" it was received with laughs, because he was covered in paint and looked ridiculous. But to me, that moment ought to be heartbreaking, revealing that insecurity and lack of self worth. It should stop a laugh in your throat and make you choke on it with the about turn on the emotions in that scene, and I know, I know that David Tennant would have been very much capable of doing so, of eliciting that reaction had he been instructed to do so. So that one I lay at the director's feet. To me, when Beatrice talks of throwing away her pride, that is serious stuff - she's opening herself up and volunteering for vulnerability, and in my opinion that shouldn't be received with laughter. I wouldn't have made those decisions, I would have aimed for a slightly different direction myself. And so, to me, it's not perfect.
It ended very nicely though - the proposal, David snogging Catherine, a dance number, and the boy completed his rubiks cube! Which I just realised is totally another metaphor. Because when he came on at the beginning it had only been altered a tiny bit, it wouldn't have taken more than two twists to sort out, and then Don John took it and made it all worse and much more complicated to sort out. But then by the end of the play it was fixed and completed! La, how clever of them.
So. I really enjoyed the play, loved it even, and would certainly recommend it to everyone. Four stars! Maybe four and a half :P
When it ended, everyone was like, applause, applause, woop, woop - and then when David and Catherine came out there was a huge surge to standing ovation. Like, more than half the audience had blatantly wanted to be the cool kid that starts the standing ovation, and frankly, I  have never seen an audience surge up so suddenly, with such synchronicity. So that was nice.
Then I was all "OK, gotta get to the stage door." I was like, in a bit of a hurry - londonsusannah didn't quite get it, like, what was I doing, what's the hurry, but I made her stay with me, and got through the crowds well. The most annoying thing about having pretty central seats is you have to wait for all these other people to get out of your way. Anyway, being short is helpful in situations like this. Got out of the building, ran around to the stage door - the railings were pretty covered, but only one person deep, and I found gap quite near to the actual door between a paparazzo and a professional autograph seller. When I say gap, it was a gap when I got there, but I did the whole turn-side-on, reach-an-arm-forward thing and then I was insinuated pretty good. The guys next to me didn't care, and even if they had, well, they weren't fans, so I didn't care hugely :P
There was like, a minute when londonsusannah still though I was slightly crazy because it wasn't exactly heaving, but then more people came and more and more. There was a pretty serious crowd by the time we left, and being at the front of that was most excellent.
I tweeted once, and was just about to tweet again, that we were waiting at the stage door, when it opened and David and Catherine came out. I am serious when I say that we waited less than ten minutes, more like five, and I was actually kinda shocked because I'd been thinking we'd have at least 15 minutes, half an hour. I'd have happily waited hours tbh. And they were right there already! I've never put my phone away so fast. They'd got changed, of course, but seriously, they can't have had time for like, anything else, they must have come straight out, it was that soon. And I just felt so so grateful to them for that, because they must have been tired, and also pretty elated, that was the very first performance, and they weren't even taking some time to chill out and congratulate each other and relax before coming out to give their fans even more of themselves. Which is just so lovely and wonderful of them. 
David was wearing an unzipped red hooded top, dark t-shirt, jeans; Catherine was wearing dark jeans and a white with thin black horizontal stripes top. David started at the far end from me Catherine started nearer, so Catherine got to me first.
God, she was so so nice. Beautiful of course, but seriously nice. We had a short chat - I said she'd been marvellous, and thanked her a lot, and she thanked me for thanking her, and I was holding out two things, a flyer and a programme, and she signed both of them for me, once on her neck and once on David's jawline, and then she laughed that she'd signed over David's face and we agreed that it was funny that they'd printed the names the opposite way around from the faces on all the promotional material. And then I think I said it had been wonderful and I'd really enjoyed myself and thank you again, and she thanked me again, and then she moved on. But seriously - I'd never met Catherine before, and I was babbling a bit, but you guys, I was just so so thrilled, and she was right in front of me, making actual eye contact and actual conversation with me and grinning at me and I was so so happy and excited! Aaah, it was amazing! 
And then, David. Ridiculously, I was slightly more composed with David than I'd been with Catherine, probably slightly because I'd got some of it out of my system with Catherine and the previous time this happened. Also, I think the fact that I was between a paparazzo and a professional autograph hunter worked in my favour, because they were being all pushy and you could tell that he didn't like them being there but it's a necessary evil you have to tolerate, so I think being the fan between them helped. I started speaking to him when he was just to my side, not quite right in front of me, so got the added satisfaction of him hearing me, looking up at me, making eye contact and moving toward me. Which possibly is a silly thing to type, but shut up, whatever, I was totally thrilled because I got his attention and I was keeping it. 
So I held out my programme and starting speaking - I said he'd been incredible, really excellent and I'd loved the play, and I swear his face broke out into this huge beautiful grin, and he said thank you, and I said how nice it was to hear his Scottish, his proper accent, and then I felt a bit like an idiot, because I meant on stage but he was using the same accent right then to talk to me at that moment, so it was like I was saying "I like hearing your voice" or something. But whatever. And then he started signing something for someone else but he kept looking at and talking to me for a couple more moments - I said something about how he'd been great and that it was such a huge contrast with his acting in Hamlet, and he laughed and went "Well, it's a different play~!" with this particular intonation that was just like, teasing and acknowledgement and laughing with this amazing grin at me. And it was awesome, ok. David Tennant teased me and grinned at me and I made him laugh. I was like, beside myself with happiness.
Anyway, he moved down the line, and the pushing was getting pretty intense, and I'd got my moments with them and their autographs, so londonsusannah and I moved back and got out of the way even though he was still out. Which actually made me feel of weirdly mature, like I was going, look we fans can share, lol.
We went to a pub and I just had this crazy grin on my face. And the world was awesome and perfect and nothing hurt. I was just so seriously thrilled. And I kinda still am tbh.
:D :D :D :D :D :D 

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-17 10:59 pm (UTC)
izzet_engineer: (pic#)
From: [personal profile] izzet_engineer
That sounds like a pretty damn awesome evening :D

(Also, you're one of the only people I know who actually does proper theatre-review-posts rather than just squeeing about the actors, so very very many thanks for that - I've not been to see anything in a while, and needed my fix of theatrical interestingness/Shakespearian directorial choices)

[Also also, I'm back down South from about the 27th to the 2nd {well, the 5th, but am going to be in a field in another world for the last few days of that, so. XD} We should meet up and things~]

- Finn

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-18 07:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It really was :D

I'm glad you thought this was enough interestingness - I didn't really intend to, I just, y'know, had a lot of thoughts XD And "squeeeeeeeeeeeee!" doesn't quite do the actual experience justice, lol. Yay for interesting directorial choices! I love thinking about that stuff, and what I love and what I slightly disapprove of and would have done differently. Yay for directors! Directing is the best.

We should absolutely meet up, yes! I haven't seen you for AGES. (Also, eh, you probably look a bit different to when I last saw you :P) So, yes yes yes. The end of May is best because while you spend that weekend in a field hitting people with swords, I'm spending that weekend in a field in Wales thinking about books and stuff at Hay on Wye! God I hope it's nice weather that weekend...!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-26 04:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

I am free practically always. We could go see Thor? And eat somewhat traditional noodles? And go to a pub? SAY YES.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-26 10:03 pm (UTC)
izzet_engineer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] izzet_engineer

Am heading back either tomorrow or Saturday, depending on getting LARP kit from people, and am off to Maelstrom on Thursday afternoon - at some point between these two dates I've got to go the dentist, but other than that I'm pretty much free, so whenever suits you should be fine.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-28 02:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Would you prefer Monday or Wednesday? Thor, or Attack the Block, that looks cool too?

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-29 09:47 am (UTC)
izzet_engineer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] izzet_engineer
I'd say Monday, so I'm not doing the whole "Argh, where is my kit, should I dye my hair, where're my bandages/bottles of blood?" thing. And I'll put in a vote for Thor, as I meant to see that around my birthday and never did (peoples with too little time and too little money).

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-18 07:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
What a fantastic review! And it is SO wonderful to hear about David and Catherine's awesomeness at the stage door. I squeed for you! :D

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-19 09:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm glad you liked it! Gosh, David and Catherine are just *so* lovely, I shall never stop saying this :)

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-18 07:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
How exciting! Thank you for sharing your adventure!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-18 12:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks for a fab and fair-minded review. How lucky you were to meet the two stars at the stage door! I am coming from America to see the play in late June and hanging around London to see the sights. To meet DT and CT would just be the cherry on top of what I know is going to be a week of cake with lots of icing!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-21 09:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Glad you liked it :) One of the best things about opening night is you know for certain that they'll come out and sign that day - I really hope you get to meet them too, and that you enjoy the play!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-06-26 05:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Be assured they come out every night and sign frantically. If you want to be in first row, just go at any other evening, not the one where you are seeing the play. I even got a picture with David, so good luck to you!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-07-02 06:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I did manage to get autographs each time, but the second time I was overrun by the 12-year-old girls screaming "I love you, David!" (Stupid me, thinking good manners would pay off, waiting politely for my turn. What an idiot.) So, yay for autographs, no hellos, definitely no pics. I didn't go back any other night because quite frankly, I didn't have the nerve for it plus the fact that I couldn't get excited over it anymore. <:-( But thanks for the encouragement!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-07-02 06:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sorry to hear that. The three nights I was there everyone was quite polite. There definitely was no loud shouting, in fact I was amazed how quiet it was. Mostly it was David doing the talking and thanking people for coming.

I wouldn't have thought asking for pictures if I hadn't seen others doing it and it all was very relaxed. But it really only worked for those that had stood there for one and a half hour right at the front of the barrier.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-07-02 09:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I did get autographs though so it wasn't a loss by far.

I did see Arthur Darvill at The Globe and in many ways enjoyed that performance as much as MAAN if not more in other ways. The Globe is an amazing place to experience a play.

But in the end, I found London to be a fascinating place, not only as a modern metropolis, but truly as a place of 'hallowed ground' if you will, soaked in centuries of history I have never experienced in any country, including my own (The States are still too young to hold such gravitas). I am not a seasoned traveller, but having had a chance to stand where so much history has literally taken place was truly awe-inspiring. I might not come back for Tate & Tennant (I think my 'TV- crush' is finally resolving itself) but I would definitely return to explore other places in London - and all of Britain to be sure.


(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-18 01:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks for posting such a long and thoughtful review. I really enjoyed reading it!

Now, more than ever, I hope they tape this for TV.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-21 10:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Glad you liked it!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-18 01:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ooh what an awesome in-depth review! I love that you went into all the costuming and prop details and directorial decisions rather than just flailing over Tennant and Tate. (Not that flailing isn't awesome too, but it's fabulous to get so much detail about the rest of it too, especially considering I shall probably not be seeing it unless they release a film like for Hamlet.)

So I'm really glad you had such an awesome time, and that you got to meet and chat with them both and that they were so lovely and chatty and happy to see you! <3


(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-19 08:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks love! And thanks for reading all that, lol. I didn’t exactly set out to write, like, everything, but I just had so much to say! I think that’s one of the wonderful things about Shakespeare – since you (can) know the plot and script inside out in a way you do with few other playwrights you can really notice the individual production and interpretation that makes this run different from all the millions of others, and you know the cast are working to come up with something slightly distinctive from everyone else. And since I’ve been thinking about cautiously exploring the bit of my brain that’s into directing I’ve really started paying more attention to what’s happening, not just how happy it makes me!

Also, I love writing like this because while “squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!” does somewhat explain how I was feeling, now I’ll remember why I felt like that and can relive it. :) And yeah, if people that can’t get to see it get an idea of the show then, yaaay for that!


(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-18 06:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This sounds awesome! You're so lucky!

I still have to wait till August :(

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-18 07:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
this is the cutest and best thing i've ever read

I'M SO HAPPY FOR YOU. even though we're strangers idgaf, YAY


(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-21 09:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you!

YAY pretty much does some it all up :D :D :D

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-18 08:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks for posting this. I'm interested in your comments about the "Kill Claudio" moment and about those other parts that were played for laughs and I completely agree with you. I've always thought that that moment in the church scene is the one which really defines what sort of Beatrice the actress will be and whenever I've seen the play before it's always played quite seriously.

As you say though, it's all down to the direction - and maybe things will change as they head towards opening night.

I'm going at the end of June and I'm sure I'll be flailing about it whatever happens :-)

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-21 09:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, I felt a little sad that because of an artistic/interpretative decision, possibly from the company as a whole but most probably originating from the director, I couldn't write "OMG THE WHOLE THING WAS PERFECT BEST MUCH ADO EVER!!" but, hmmm, that just wasn't the case. It is a great production, but I think not giving those parts the seriousness I believe they merit is a mistake, and it reduces the play. Shakespeare has so much depth, so I was left slightly baffled and disappointed that in this respect they seem to have chosen to intentionally make it shallower. Ah well. As I say, it's still good. Just not perfect.

I suppose if there is some kind of outcry there's a chance they might alter the tone in some of these scenes, but I rather doubt it :P Someone somewhere has thought in depth about what they want to do and made this decision, so I expect they'd stick to it :) Certainly if I was directing I would stand firm in the face of such criticism :P

Please feel free to come back and let me know whether you agree - or whether they have actually changed anything - once you've seen it too!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-06-27 11:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Coming back much later, but I saw the play on Saturday and I've posted a rather long-winded something here ( if you're interested.

The "Kill Claudio" moment was, I think pretty much as you described, and despite the titters from some of the audience, it was most definitely played completely straight. I don't like to come across as some sort of stuck-up purist, (which I'm not) but I really think it was just one of those occasions where a proportion of the audience wasn't familiar with the play and was being kind of carried along by the humour of what had gone before and so wasn't really prepared for such a sudden change in tone. Having seen it myself now, I think that the director must have intended the swiftness of the change to be there to "put the brakes on", so to speak, and I suppose she can't help the fact that some people aren't quite prepared to switch gears so quickly.

That sounds like an episode of Top Gear ... *g*

(no subject)

Date: 2011-06-27 12:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hello again - I'll definitely pop over to read about your thoughts on the play :)

I've spoken to a few people that have been since I went, and despite my previous comments about directors sticking to their guns I've come to the conclusion that this is something they've worked on and altered. Specifically, when I saw the play, the tone of voice Catherine used was highly sarcastic on that line, and that lent the whole rest of the exchange a strange feeling. Now though, people that have seen the play since then say that hasn't been the case, so I'm thinking actually rather than a bizarre stylistic choice it was simply an error on the night I saw it which has since been corrected for the rest of the run. Which I'm glad about, even if it did annoy me at the time.

I agree though, it's a difficult task for the director to manage, especially with Shakespeare, to direct for both an audience that knows the play inside out and for an audience that doesn't at all, and especially since David and Catherine are the big draw here it's reasonable to expect a higher than usual proportion of the audience wouldn't already be familiar with the play.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-18 10:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you for the wonderful descriptions and detail of the whole play. It sounds fabulous and congrats on getting David and Catherine's autographs and chatting with them - lucky you :D

I'm looking forward to the 2nd July even more now!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-18 11:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you for writing this. I really enjoyed reading it. I won't be able to see the show (wrong side of an ocean), but your review makes me feel a little bit like I was there. And I was thrilled for you when reading your descriptions of meeting Catherine and David, and your giddiness at David's reactions to you. Lovely!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-21 09:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That pesky ocean, tchuh. So annoying. I'm glad you enjoyed reading this, and I'm very happy if I've given you a window into what it was like to be there!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-19 07:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I can be jealous :)

(no subject)

Date: 2011-06-26 05:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Finally I am able to read your review in full - I had left out the spoilers at the time you posted it. I am just back home from London - we ended up going twice, as I wanted to see it again. Being from Germany, I understood much more the second time (I also had bought the script and read the lines in between). BTW, it is indeed set in the eighties, I recommend the script, it also has interviews with David and Catherine and the director and also a diary of the rehearsals, very interesting.

I also loved the stag night and hen night. We didn't get this in the German production I saw just a few weeks ago. What a great idea.

And I agree with you about Don John, I also liked this actor very much! Aside from David and Catherine, we also caught a lot of other actors going out and got their autographs (we went there three nights in a row)

I wouldn't say that "Kill Claudio" was played for laughs. Maybe it got changed since the first night? They were laughing at each other and happy but then sobered and there was a pause before Catherine spoke the line with a serious face. A few people in the audience still laughed (both times) but I am not quite sure why, as for me it wasn't funny at all.

Unfortunately, I also must agree with you about the watch. I must say though, that I also didn't find it funny in the German production I saw, it was too comedic and overplayed for my taste, and I actually don't like comedians in TV etc. I'm sure a lot of the English jokes have went over my head, it's even difficult to understand when reading, so I don't blame the audience if they react better to physical comedy. But for me it also felt like it was interupting the play, while I wanted to see what was going on with the other stories. Plus, I was missing the line with the babys and the nurses, I had read that beforehand, that if babies cry, they shall get the nurses to get them quite, but if they don't, then well be it, or something like that (like the drunks and the thieves). Not sure why that was cut out?

The David in paint scene was really delightful, how many small things were going on there and right on point. This was the reason I wanted to see it again, as sometimes you did not know where to look first, with so many people at the stage at the same time. Although I admit that I am shallow enough that every time David was on stage, I really did not notice much else. There was a Tina at the costume ball? Really? *shrugs*

I totally have a catchy tune in my ear from the last song, randomly bursting into "Nonny, nonny" all the time (when I am not doing a "sigh, David", that is). I loved that last dance scene.

Thank you for this wonderful report, there is really not much to add, and I think I will keep the link for reading it again.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-06-27 02:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow, it's nice that you came back to read my thoughts once you'd seen the production yourself! Lucky you getting to go twice :) Since seeing it it's been made clear that it's set in the 80s, and in Gibraltar, so I was getting the correct impression without giving it all that much thought.

I've spoken to quite a few people that have seen the play since I did, and I've come to the conclusion that they have changed the "Kill Claudio" line - I did see the play first night, and moreover, I now think the tone used and the impression gained from it was an error on Catherine's part rather than the bizarre stylistic decision I interpreted it as. And of course, audiences just react weirdly sometimes, which can be annoying, but its just a hazard of the medium.

I like the Watch as written, and I liked the way this production handled them - I felt that they weren't woven into the rest of the production as well as they might have though, and that when I went at least the audience didn't take to them all that well. Ah well, everyone is entitled to enjoy what they enjoy, and Much Ado as with all Shakespeare as a feast of different things to enjoy. Something for everyone, but not everything is for everyone. If you went specifically for David and Catherine, and if your English and grasp of the text of the play isn't 100% then I can understand that the Watch wouldn't be your favourite bits of the play. The Watch are presented as bumbling, but in fact the comedy is routed primarily in the same kind of wordplay that Benedick and Beatrice spar with - that is, fast and dependent on vocabulary. There are heaps of malapropisms, but yeah, if English isn't your first language you might not catch them, or when you do, not find them all that funny anyway. And then, there is the secondary more self aware layer of comedy based on your - and other peoples - primary reactions to the watch and class prejudices. So, there is a lot there, and I enjoy it, but audiences, and particularly audiences that haven't read the play, sometimes don't appreciate or simply don't care for the Watch. Ah well. Such is life.

David covered in paint was absolutely hysterical. Wonderful scene, great blocking and everything, really playing to the actors' strengths and highly enjoyable. And yeah, the stag and hen night was a brilliant idea - really helps the play make sense and fills the biggest plot hole of the text. And was just brilliant in all ways, really. Loved that bit a lot.


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the camelion Poet

July 2013



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