Friday, 28 October 2016

Don't clap too hard

I have been to see a live transmission of John Osborne's 'The Entertainer' and didn't really enjoy it. It was the least technically proficient of the similar shows that I have seen recently; there was something wrong with the focus all the way through, there appeared to be fewer cameras involved than normal and there were several brief interruptions to the signal. Worse than all that though was the fact that it didn't seem to me to be a particularly good or relevant play.

This would have been better

Kenneth Branagh is, of course, a very fine actor, but he isn't sleazy enough or old enough as Archie Rice. Greta Scacchi, last seen by your bloggist as Amanda Wingfield in 'The Glass Menagerie', was probably the pick of those on the stage, but even she wasn't enough. As in the case of Rattigan's 'The Deep Blue Sea' reviewed here recently, life has moved on so much as to render the play a pointless curiosity. The Entertainer uses the decline of music hall as a metaphor for Britain's loss of empire. Now this does result in some amusingly relevant references to the UKIP-style, Little Englander ethos currently predominant in the country, that were probably unthought of when it was decided to revive the piece, but even those cut price fascists don't actually aspire to restore the British Empire, or - one assumes - the music hall. So basically, who cares?

And this

The most amusing thing that happened was when I accidentally smacked an old woman in the face while overly flamboyantly opening the door for someone else. Both myself and the lady to whom I was being chivalrous laughed immensely; the victim didn't. Still, it will give her something to moan about other than the new five pound notes.

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