Monday, 8 December 2014

Theatre - witches and valets and such.

This week I had two, very different theatrical experiences - the first was the cinema broadcast of Arthur Miller's The Crucible, on Thursday evening.

I had been toying with the idea of going to see it live, in London, but didn't get myself organised to do so, so I was very glad to see it was being broadcast.

It is neither a short, nor a cheerful play - the broadcast was about 3.5 hours, and of course it is based on the Salem witch trials, and as such, is in many respects depressing viewing.

This production is excellent - Richard Armitage is very good as John Proctor, particularly in the second half of the play, as he agonises over whether to make a (false) confession of witchcraft in order to save his life, and Anna Madeley is his wife,a much less showy role, but essential, and she portrays Elizabeth's quiet, steadfast character very well.

Adrian Schiller, who played Rev. Hale was also very good  - gradually breaking down as his certainty that the village is affected by witchcraft is eroded and he realises how much blood he has on his hands..

It was also interesting to see William Gaunt, as Giles Corey, having seen him  live in Exit the King 

The second show was Jeeves and Wooster at the Theatre Royal, Bath - which was a total change of pace, and a lot of fun.

The play is presented as Wooster appearing on stage and describing his recent weekend, with support from Jeeves, and his Aunt's butler Stebbings, each playing a multitude of  other parts,which has the advantage of allowing him to narrate, and also to break the 4th wall and chat to the audience from time to time. (mostly expressing admiration at Jeeves's provision of props and scenery!)

I thought they did an excellent job of translating Wodehouse's story to the stage, and special mention must go to Joel Sams, who is the Understudy for Wooster
 and appeared on the night I went.

A fun, lightweight show. I enjoyed my evening out!

I also learned this week that my name was one of those drawn in the British Library's Magna Carta ballot, which means that I shall be one of the 1215 getting to see all 4 original copies of the charter together, as part of the celebration of its 800th anniversary! Which I'm quietly happy about - I have read that they had around 45,000 apply, so I'm really surprised that I was one of the winners! I'm looking forward to it.

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