Amadeus: (seen at the afternoon performance on 8th November 2016).
To use the (modern dress) Southbank Sinfonia is to take this
production to a new and even more revealing level. The music can be heard at the
same 'live drama' level as the spoken word, a glorious fusion which must surely
have been the world in which the composers lived. Sparse elegance elsewhere -
pianos, a moving stage (the revolve comes into its own once again) and a few
chairs are all that are required for this murderous tale of eternity to play
If Lucian Msamati's (Salieri) diction is occasionally not the clearest, his
naked emotion is beautiful and terrible to behold,
his final scenes with his
victim something that would probably be banned for obscenity online, such is the
Adam Gillen (Mozart) is a child (neat costumes, particularly the shoes,
from Poppy Hall and team) yet ageless, man, boy but also genius with
eccentricities fewer than his prodigious talent. Shaffer manages to celebrate,
even as the focus isn't ever on him as the central character.
Excellent support from Venticelli Sarah Amankwah and Hammed Animashaun, and Tom
Edden as Joseph II. Other cast members also deserve plaudits as this is true
ensemble playing, with the integrated musicians sharing all credit.
Yes, it's "sell a kidney for" theatre. That is all the monkey feels anyone needs
Photo Credit: Marc Brenner, used by kind permission.
Salome: Not available. Reports are that this at least looks amazingly
good. The atmosphere engulfs entirely both stage and audience. Sadly, the script
fails to deliver the same impact. The pace is glacial due to dividing Salome
(Isabella Nefar and Olwen Fouéré) into two roles - actual and commentator. With
further divisions of time into past and present interlacing, nothing gets to
move forward. Farber wishes to explore alternative truths to the legend.
Instead, she manages to alienate the audience according to some professional
reviewers, as they seek a story among her musings. Some clumsy lines and
half-formed ideas like an Aramaic speaking with subtitles don't help, and the
whole apparently is written off as "pretentious" by more than one review. For
those willing to indulge, it's acceptable as a visual experience, but the
intellectual may not be on the same level as the setting.
Common: Not available. Reports are that this is a little
incomprehensible, not least because an 1800s Rural dialect is used - and the
fact the play is about the division into private hands of previously public land
is only explained in programme notes. One professional reviewer finds it
"conscience stirring" and the reason for Anne-Marie Duff's character Mary
returning from London as intriguing.
Other reviewers find the characters confused and confusing, without backgrounds
and not easily identified. The "Wicker Man" feel is noted by several, as is the
fact there are a few sound scenes where this is evoked. Sadly, the very long
running time (30 minutes cut during previews, more to go, most suggest should
happen) leads to a meandering plot that most find inexplicable by the end.
Visually, it's the usual National Theatre standard, but as a piece of writing, a
little too much tackled in too narrow a space, seems to be the verdict.
Follies: Not available.