Apr. 30th, 2017

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ust over a week ago SM said to me "Are we going to see The Hypocrite?"  I told him we hadn't booked, but he said he'd heard good things about it, so I had a look and rapidly booked, since yesterday was the closing night.  The production has almost completely sold out, but we managed to get £10 standing seats.  Which is probably a very accurate description - basicly you stand, but there's a sort of seat you can sit on, so it's not proper standing.  The seats are on the sides in the upper gallery, so there are areas which aren't visible, and I wouldn't particularly recommend them, but for £10 for something we couldn't have seen otherwise, I'm not complaining.

The Hypocrite is a new play, written by Richard Bean.  It was a joint collaboration between the RSC and Hull Truck Theatre, for Hull being UK City of Culture 2017.  The Hypocrite is Sir John Hotham, who in 1642 was charged by King Charles to take and hold the armoury in Hull for him.  At the same time Sir John is given a similar commission by the Parliamentarians.  This is historical fact.  The play is based on this action and builds on it, taking various historical truths and adapting some of them slightly.

It reminded me of some of the Restoration comedies we have seen, and was in a similar vein, although the language was modern, which meant following the plot was easier.  There were local references to Hull (the play was performed there first) and various modern allusions, including at one point the Duke of York sending a message to Sir John's daughter in text speak.  But it blended in very well and gave the illusion of being a Restoration comedy as seen at the time.

The play was a true comedy, with both verbal and physical jokes.  There were various references to Shakespeare - generally disparaging - and probably one of the best interpretations of Malvolio's yellow stockings cross-gartered I've seen.  The acts were separated by folk songs, played by a singer on a mandolin or guitar, which sounded period appropriate, although some at least were new, others may have been from the time.

We both really enjoyed it and were very pleased with the decision to see it.

 

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