Friday, June 17, 2011

Two classic plays: Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and GB Shaw's Candida

After two very different versions of Macbeth within a short time, Roy was apprehensive about my next choice of play to review for the Remotegoat website. I've taught the play a few times so I appreciated the novelty, but for someone who doesn't, the two very unusual interpretations were probably confusing.

Still recovering from a recent operation, I looked at the list of plays for review and picked out two classic plays that didn't involve too much travelling. I was a bit apprehensive all the same about A Midsummer Night's Dream at The Brockley Jack pub. It's a play more suited, I thought, to outdoor venues such as Regents Park Theatre. But the interpretation was superb. Thinking about it, although it's all outdoors the action takes place in a wood at night, so the slightly spooky atmosphere the players and the venue helped create was entirely appropriate. I gave it five stars.

The full review can be seen here

The production made me see the point of a play that I knew well but never really liked or understood, so it deserves the accolade.

The other 'classic' at Greenwich Playhouse was one I hadn't seem before - GB Shaw's play Candida is apparently rarely performed, but the Playhouse seems to specialise in classic revivals - good for me because, as with The Brockley Jack, it only takes me about fifteen minutes to get there.

I have fond memories of Shaw, as my first amdram role with the 'Castaways' in Penge was as a maid in Arms and the Man a play better known in its musical form as The Chocolate Soldier, just as Shaw's Pygmalion, is better known as My Fair Lady.

Candida is a perfectly structured play, although it suffers from Shaw's usual fault of characters seeming at times mere mouthpieces for his social reform ideas. The acting and direction were good enough to gloss over this aspect and I was thoroughly entertained so I gave it four stars.

The full review can be seen here

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