My problem with Aristocrats is that there is often a lot happening and sometimes it too easily diverts attention from the central narrative.
Director Lyndsey Turner is clearly impatient with the tradition of playing this melancholy drama as a tribute to Chekhov, and her production is thoroughly anti-naturalistic.
Aristocrats does show once again Brian Friel’s remarkable ability to understand and cross religious and personal boundaries, but this time it fails to grapple the heart with quite the keenness of some of his other work.
There’s little for the cast to improve because the faults in Aristocrats lie with Friel. This production draws-out all of the core themes but cannot overcome the play’s reliance on heavy exposition and failure to satisfactorily resolve its own questions about the past of these characters.
Brian Friel’s gift is humane ambiguity, refusing to allow tidy judgements on his characters. Or even – though his theme is Ireland’s history – on the social structures they inhabit.
Paul Higgins and James Laurenson will join the previously announced Elaine Cassidy, David Dawson, David Ganly, Emmet Kirwan, Aisling Loftus, Ciaran McIntyre and Eileen Walsh in the cast for Brian Friel’s play Aristocrats, at the Donmar Warehouse from 2 August to 22 September 2018 (press night is 9 August).
Artistic director Josie Rourke has announced two new Donmar Warehouse productions for 2018: Brian Friel’s the Aristocrats, directed by Lyndsey Turner, and her own gender-swapping production of Measure for Measure, starring Hayley Atwell and Jack Lowden.
It doesn’t help that everyone’s so unlikeable – younger Oliver (Joshua Silver) is a self-centered underachieving queen with Disney fantasies, partner Daniel (James Lance) is an ex-heterosexual lawyer still pursuing the patriarchal role.
Love shock: Bold and surprising, David Dawson has completely reworked Swan Lake for Scottish Ballet, cutting away the fat of its fusty baggage, although he discards some elements of clarity at the same time.
I’m still not sure what to make of The Dazzle – in the least comfortable fringe theatre newly created in the West End, up 76 steps and with a padlocked lift the first mystery is how Westminster Council licensed it. It starts out as quite a tender portrait of a brother caring for his autistic, introverted concert pianist twin but in Act 2 turns in to Grey Gardens without the jokes, the music or the outré ways to wear a cardigan.
I’m well overdue for a theatre diary, aren’t I? So here goes with a quick one on more new plays I’ve seen in recent (and not-so recent) weeks that I’d recommend catching and haven’t yet managed to squeeze in to separate blogs.
Review extracts from four shows that got 5-star reviews: The Lorax at the Old Vic, Les Liaisons Dangereuses at the Donmar, Show Boat at Sheffield’s Crucible & The Dazzle at Found111.
Andrew Scott, farouche and “méchant”, a man-child oddity with a painfully fastidious musical ear, is the concert pianist Langley Collyer: David Dawson, already haggard with care and half-infected with his brother’s impossible mentality, is Lang’s brother Homer. We will watch their deterioration: not without laughs but ultimately with a disturbing pity.
Michael Grandage Company and Emily Dobbs Productions today announce the full company for their co-production of the UK première of Richard Greenberg’s The Dazzle at FOUND111, at the site of the old Central St Martins School of Art on Charing Cross Road. Joining Andrew Scott (Langley) and David Dawson (Homer) in Simon Evans’ production, is Joanna Vanderham as Milly.
Michael Grandage Company and Emily Dobbs Productions today announce their co-production of the UK première of Richard Greenberg’s The Dazzle at the new FOUND111, at the site of the old Central St Martins School of Art on Charing Cross Road. Simon Evans directs Andrew Scott and David Dawson as Langley and Homer. The production opens on 15 December, with previews from 10 December, and runs for a strictly limited season until 30 January 2016, with £10 ticket available for all performances.