[Review] The Magistrate, National Theatre

I am sure this could have been good but in the end it was very frustrating. Farce works best by being played straight, allowing the comedy to build up from the complexities of the script; in this they added sub Gilbert and Sullivan songs. The actors should end up overplaying because that’s where the script forces them; in this, they overacted from the start. Farce works by adding layers of absurdity to a simple, normal setting; in this they created a cartoon set (see picture above from the NT’s FaceBook page, complete with wacky slanted door). Nearly 20 years ago, I saw Griff Rhys Jones in Charley’s Aunt showing how it can be done – the only thing I didn’t like was the pain in my stomach from laughing too much.

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