Jun. 25th, 2017 09:34 pm
smallhobbit: (Default)
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.
smallhobbit: (Edel Lion)
SM has been off doing a singing workshop today, leaving me at home with nothing particularly pressing.  I have however been reasonably productive!

Apart that is from the usual puttering around on the internet, catching up with emails/LJ comments/fic reading, and the washing - which has dried nicely and is waiting for me to bring it in!

I have thought about the 'talk in the sermon slot' I'm doing next month and got an idea of where I'm going with it.  Have also thought about the talk for tomorrow's Combined Family Praise Fathers' (and Others') Day service.

I have written part of the chapter two of my Gen Bingo fic.  This is the one which follows on from Master Baggins the Baker's Son.  I have vague ideas, which are changing as I write, but so far I'm pleased with the way it's going.  Incidentally, Master Baggins is my most kudos fic for 2017, and my top five kudos fics this year are all The Hobbit and Bagginshield.

I have done the edits for my Not Prime Time exchange fic, with many thanks to [personal profile] thewhitelily  for her hard work in beta-ing it and saying 'this needs another sentence of explanation/reaction'.  All very true - I particularly appreciate her help, since it was a fandom she doesn't know.

I have booked tickets for a play.  This is put on by a new company Elliot & Harper Productions at London's Wyndhams Theatre.  The play Heisenberg will star Anne-Marie Duff (the reason for booking) and Kenneth Cranham.  The company are the ones who will also be putting on a play directed by Yael Harper, in which there are rumours Richard Armitage will star.  But ignoring that possibility for the moment SM and I are going between Christmas and New Year, and having a couple of days in London as well, which should be good.  I can see the run up to Christmas being busy, and learning from Easter, having a proper break afterwards seems like a good idea.

And lastly, apart of course from writing this blog post, I have ordered the Active Kids equipment for the Sainsbury's vouchers we collected.  It was quite difficult to decide what to get, but in the end we're having an earth ball - a ball with a map of the world printed on it, which should be good both for games and when we talk about Brownies around the world.  They also do gardening equipment, so I've ordered a set of small plant pots and saucers which we can use for a craft/gift/activity.  And with the remaining vouchers I selected a stop watch - we've been using a phone as a timer, but this would be easier - and a couple of food containers, which we can use for general storage.  Not a bad haul at all.

Hope your're all having a good weekend too!
smallhobbit: (Cat)
As soon as I knew Anne-Marie Duff was going to be in this play at the Dorfman Theatre (one of the three theatres at the National on the Southbank) I was determined I was going to go.  So much so that I booked tickets on my phone while I was staying up in London.  Which was just as well, because by the time I got home three days later, the performance was sold out.

Husbands & Sons is an amalgamation of three plays by D H Lawrence: A Collier's Friday Night, The Daughter-in-Law and The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd.  All three plays are set in the mining village of Eastwood on the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire border (and incidentally about two miles from the village of Greasley a family surname on SM's side - he comes from Nottingham).  So instead of having separate plays the various neighbours were brought into each others' lives, as would have happened in such villages.

The set showed the cottages of the three main families, with the downstairs rooms marked out and with basic furniture in each.  By use of the lighting the overshadowing of the coal mine is shown when the miners return from the pit and at the end of the play.  There's also a long scene when it is raining heavily and again the rainfall is shown by lighting effects and heard when the characters are outside, or when a door is opened, but silent when the characters are within their cottages.  The description sounds quite gimicky, but it worked very well, probably because of the overall atmosphere which had been set up.

The acting was good throughout.  I was pleased to see Louise Brearley and Joe Armstrong again, this time playing another couple, Luther and Minnie Gascoigne.  Anne-Marie Duff as Lizzie Holroyd went through a whole gamut of emotions, all of which rang painfully true in her portrayal.  The climax of the play brought out the best in all the actors and left me feeling part of that community.

It's not a happy play - which I hadn't expected, since this was D H Lawrence - but one I would recommend.  It's currently on in London and going to Manchester for a month from the middle of February.


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