Pixie Post

Monday, August 13, 2007

I went to the Theatre

I interrupt the Encyclopedia to tell you I have been to the Theatre. Yes, Theatre, with a capital T. The Royal Shakespeare Company, King Lear, Sir Ian Mckellen as Lear. It was extraordinarily wonderful. It was funny and violent. There was passion and grief by the bucketload. It was 3.5 hours long, but it simply flew by.
There were some glorious little bits of business that I loved....the opening scenes of dividing the kingdom with Lear reading badly from cue cards at a lecturn.....Regan's fondness for a 'drop'. She took a goblet of wine at every opportunity, which set her up for her eventual poisoning very cleverly.....Lear and the Fool had a running gag going tweaking each others noses....and bawdy moments too....Lear nudging Goneril's husband suggesting it was time she was pregnant, Regan spreading herself across part of the crumbling scaffolding to seduce Edmund, and yes, Lear dropped his trousers in a moment that was completely appropriate, and more shocking for the graphic illustration of the madness than for the nakedness itself. The storm scenes were fantastic, real water raining on Lear and the Fool and Mad Tom. Lear's "Blow wind and crack your cheeks, rage, blow" gave me goosebumps.
Sylvester McCoy plays The Fool, maybe you know him as Doctor Who. He played the spoons, sang and made mischief and told those truths of his with great energy. They hung him, front of stage, and left him hanging, while the lights came up for interval and we went to buy icecream. The 'body' was collected with dignity while we watched and chatted. So clever.These scenes, Lear with Gloucester (William Gaunt) were haunting. Two greiving, broken old men. The Edgar/Edmund story was rich and strong, I thought someone would get hurt in the swordfight. Mad Tom (with a bit of a Gollum feel about him) was wonderful. They got a standing ovation. There were hoots and hollers as the top ten (or thereabouts) took their bows. There was serious feet stamping for Sir Ian. He is beloved by Wellingtonians after living here for a year filming Lord of the Rings. I hope the riotous reception he got at the end of the show reminded him of that. (The pictures are from the RSC website).

I've been disagreeing with reviews by the Dominion Post's Laurie Atkinson for over 20 years now. How does one become a theatre critic that so dominates this little city? Anyway, today's review is another I disagree with. The set, the rain, the Fool....they were magnificent. I had high expectations. They were exceeded.

Picture from the Dominion Post

There was another class act in Wellington on Saturday. Tana Umanga played his last game for Wellington. Famous for keeping his family out of the spotlight, he was joined on the field after the game by 2 of his children. In his farewell speech he spoke of the need to protect our children, of how he could play hard rugby, but he could also go home and love his kids. Just a very few, carefully chosen words. Very classy. Kia ora Tana.


Jen said...

i like stage plays
though I havent been to one in years

The Sagittarian said...

Wow, what a right up...made me wish I was there. Tell that other reviewer git to shove over, there's a new talent treading the boards (or writing the words)

Helen said...

Lucky you, what a real treat. And, yes I agree, the haedline in the Dom was less than overwhelming. How do you get better than best?