Sometimes my views differ from the rest of the group. I certainly do not wish to spoil anyone's enjoyment of a show by challenging their views - we know of a friend who disagreed with the praise offered by a member of another group and was told "Well, you have really spoiled my evening now!". Many years ago I was so enraged by a production which everyone else seemed to enjoy that I was stirred to boo from the rear of the Stalls. Someone in the row behind then accused me of spoiling their evening. Fortunately, another person in the row in front turned around and told me "I agree with you!". Well, horses for courses, but nevertheless everyone has the right to enjoy their evening out and not be confronted by any unsought opposition. Naturally this works both ways so sometimes a repost of "Well, I liked it!" does not go amiss when confronted with disgruntled views.
Here I want to occasionally post my oppinions when I seem to disagree with the majority. It gets it out of my system and it won't frighten the horses!
16/11/15: The Moderate Soprano at Hampstead Theatre -
I find myself agreeing with the praise and also agreeing with the minor complaints. Except for me the complaints are more major. The cast were faultless, all giving well judged performances, with favourites Nancy Carol and Roger Allam performing a fine balancing act as the couple setting the scene. I don't see this as a major Hare piece - it was heavy on exposition, a wordy history lesson for us, yet light on real discussion to enthrall us (as he usually does). But there were delightful scenes, amusing quips, and some heart-rending encounters - a touch of Coward and with an eye on Rattigan, perhaps appropriate for the subject. What disappointed me most was the cop-out ending. Having created a touching, elegiac final scene (the realisation that the best times of our lives come early on when we don't realise it), Hare decides to round off with a bit of uplift - a powdered nose in the dressing room, the conductor raising his baton, then a flourish of recorded Mozart overture - cheap! If he really wanted to send us home happy, he could have written a scene focusing on Glyndebourne's Opening Night to actually tell us about the tension and excitement instead of relying on easy production choices. But I realise I am out of step with the cheering audience - I must rush to the bank vaults and then to the Glyndebourne box office for a taste of the real thing. Three operatic stars - I enjoyed it only moderately.
04/04/17 The Goat at Wyndham's Theatre
The first thing to say about Albee's roller-coaster of a theatrical ride is that it's very funny - Albee loves playing with words and here the sharp one-liners catch us unawares. But don't think this is a comedy - far from it - this has the devastating tragedy of Greek mythology and the overpowering feelings we try to avoid in our own lives. It challenges us to face up to the limitations we set ourselves within the morals and mores of our society. Martin (Damian Lewis plays against type and has never been better) loves unwisely; his wife Stevie (Sofie Okonedo firing on all cylinders) rages despondently; his son Billy (Archie Madekwe, battling bravely against miscasting) sees his parents self-destruct; and best friend Ross (Jason Hughes giving powerful support) makes the big mistake that brings about the fall of civilisation - well, it would if this was a war of the gods, but here in an affluent middle class family it has an equivalent effect. Tense, hugely satisfying, looking great, and directed by Ian Rickson to maximise our emotional responses, I can find no reason not to give it a five star rating. OK, I may have wanted to redirect the ending slightly (we all want to direct!) but that is only a matter of personal preference.
Philip T 20 April 2017 (Madama Butterfly at Covent Garden)
Minimalist setting only served to emphasise the quality of performance by the cast. Clever use of background screens let the outside world in as necessary. Wonderful singing, heart-wrenching storyline. I would like to have seen Pinkerton on stage as being the last vision of Cio-Cio San before she died. Must remember to take more tissues next time I see this opera. Well done ROH and of course Fredo and Mike for their organisation.