Sunday, 13 September 2015

Where was Moses when the lights went out?

And so to the theatre. Greta Scacchi is starring as Amanda Wingfield in Headlong's production of The Glass Menagerie now previewing at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. I enjoyed the show very much - the acting was superb - but I did want to grab most of the characters and give them a slap.

The play's most overt theme is dysfunctional families, and there is something sitcom like about the set-up of people trapped with family members who they both love and loath (think Steptoe and Son) and there are some very funny moments amidst the sadness. For me though the biggest resonance was the question raised about whether what ails us psychologically is more devastating than our physical infirmities. Laura's social anxiety is far more difficult to cope with than her mobility problems. As an aside, I didn't care for the way that the director represented the latter; it seemed clumsy and in bad taste to me. I was also in two minds about the colour blind casting of Jim O'Connor. Normally I'm all in favour, but given the piece revolves around Amanda's recollection of her upbringing (it was parodied as 'For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls') I'm not sure that it worked.

The staging was simple and uncluttered, even by chairs; there was a lot of sitting on the floor. Mention must be made of the magnificent hat that Ms Scacchi wears for the visit of the gentleman caller, which even Barrie Rutter in his more flamboyant moments wouldn't have tried to get away with. Speaking of Bazza, the autumn culture fest continues shortly with Northern Broadsides Winter's Tale - the first of a positive splurge of Shakespeare - although sadly I don't think he's in it.

There can be only one musical way to sign off, so here's to the (unseen) fifth character:

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