I had to see this after laughing so much at The Play that Goes Wrong from Mischief Theatre earlier in the year. Many of the jokes were very similar but I still cried with laughter, maybe not quite as much. I went to a matinee and there were a lot of children in the audience and their presence of made me realise how much more this was than simply slapstick, with moments of pathos coming through. The highlight of this was their re-working of the magical “I believe in fairies” call. I can’t say more than that without giving it away but it was a beautiful, emotional moment. I do hope they win best new comedy in the What’s On Stage awards. You can add your vote here.
Another enjoyable performance from LAMDA. There’s lots of lust for blood and lots of lust for sex in this lurid melodrama. The direction was good, playing some parts for laughs, some for tragedy to add variation to a rather relentless story of men plotting and carrying out revenge, with lots of corpses and the odd severed head. As to be expected from LAMDA, the production is low cost but the principal roles are well acted, particularly by David Young as Vindici and Sam McAvoy as Lussurioso. There are still a few more performances and they are completely free, so if you’ve never seen this infamous Thomas Middleton play then grab this chance.
Gorky wrote this in the same year as Chekhov wrote the Cherry Orchard and it has a very similar feel. It is the world of the new, educated middle class. All grew up in the working class but now they are doctors, engineers, etc. At the centre are the ‘summerfolk’ staying at their dachas in the country, lazing about, drinking too much, having affairs. In the background are the real workers, the maid on constant call, the watchmen patrolling through the night to protect them from the poor. Gorky has a harder political edge than Chekhov which can get a little heavy handed but this is well worth watching, especially as it is free! LAMDA may be students but they are some our best, many already working professionally. They were very good in this but did not seem quite as home with the period as they were with the Prisoner’s Dilemma. Having just seen my first Gorky play, I’m looking forward to Children of the Sun at the National Theatre next week.