Jun. 25th, 2017


Jun. 25th, 2017 09:34 pm
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Anne-Marie Duff in a play at the National Theatre - sounds good to me.  It sounded good to SM too, so we booked a night at a Travelodge for after and looked forward to it.  Since we were going to the matinée, and since SM only works Friday mornings at the moment we decided we'd go up the night before which would make it less of a rush, and I booked another Travelodge - in Teddington.  Do not stay there - I have just sent off a complaint.  If it wasn't for the fact we've never had problems before (odd hiccups, but they've always been resolved, and the one time that wasn't possible we instantly got a voucher for our next stay) we wouldn't use them again.  Richmond was fine the second night.

But I digress.  Common is a new play by DC Moore.  It's set in the 1810s at the height of the enclosure act, and Mary (Anne-Marie Duff) has returned to her home village after years away.  Mary is not what she initially seems - and even by the end of the play it's not clear what her role truly is.  And that is part of the problem with the play.  Although there are lots of different things happening, the play seems one paced and at times somewhat improbable.  The improbability would be okay if the play truly had a fantastical layer, but this is supposed to be very earthy and therefore, by implication, realistic.

The lighting is very atmospheric, and the music fits well with the action.  But I was neither swept up in the plot, or invested in Mary or any of the other characters.  As the play progressed, Mary felt more like a super-woman, with inexplicable abilities, which again didn't settle with where the play seemed to be going.  A play can take its audience in unexpected directions, but there needs to be reasoning as to why things happen (however bizarre the reasons may be) and we felt it failed.

The reviews have been mostly 2* (the Guardian awarded 3*, but liked the way it didn't make sense, calling it exciting, I beg to differ), but Anne-Marie Duff was good and did justice to Mary (the faults were in the characterisation, not the acting), and since we had £15 Travelex tickets I won't complain.  I'm glad we went - and we enjoyed our weekend away - but I wouldn't particularly recommend the play.


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