I suppose I've been quite busy. Since term began on January 13th, I've somehow managed to struggle my way through the Victorian/Modernism paper and also direct my first play, The Glass Menagerie, at the Corpus Playroom, which finished its run yesterday (March 15th).
The post about the Menagerie will have to wait til another day when I've been able to let all the thoughts and feelings settle. To whet your appetite, though, you could read this fantastic review
by the West End Whingers. A review by the West End Whingers of MY play. What a landmark :-) Nothing really left to look forward to, to be honest...!
I want to go through all the theatre that I've seen so far this year. As I've been in Cambridge since mid-January, almost all of it is student theatre. Every drop I get of professional theatre I gulp liked a man crawling through the desert discovering a not-quite-empty Evian bottle.
The quality of student theatre is pretty variable, as you'd expect. But the good stuff can be really really fantastically good. Of course the bad can get really really bad. I don't want to be too mean about any of the bad stuff, since all student theatre is really just a noble attempt, but, well, I can't bring myself to lie, either.
So here's everything I've seen in 2008 so far, and a little 'review' for everything.
12th January - The Masque of the Red Death. Er, it was the 6th time I'd seen it. Move along, nothing to see here folks.
18th January - Julius Caesar - I didn't love it. Some strong performances, especially Brutus and Mark Antony, but it's never been one of my favourite Shakespeares, and the lukewarm production couldn't help it win me over.
23rd January - Chekhov Double Bill - The Bear/The Night Before the Trial - Enjoyable. Too much shouting, subtlety out the window, but still enjoyable and some nice comic performances.
24th January - Perspectives - Well, I know almost nothing about dance, but the dance pieces in this show, on the whole, were engaging and accomplished enough for me to follow and even enjoy the whole thing.
30th January - The Gnadiges Fraulein - A raucous and unexpected piece of lunacy from Tennessee Williams, with three superb performances and lots of lovely detail, made for a thoroughly absorbing, entertaining, and moving show.
1st February - All the Ordinary Angels - An enjoyable, if slight, play, well-directed, with a few very good performances and a few less so. Pleasant while it lasted but not much of an aftertaste.
6th February - Two Marias - I actually reviewed this one for TCS. I was pleasantly surprised by Bryony Lavery's haunting, elusive play, and the production featured one wonderful performance and several good ones.
8th February - Dinner - Several stunning performances and extremely acute direction made this one of the best Cambridge productions I have seen yet. Gripping and disturbing.
8th February - Follies - A bit of a mess - one or two good performances lost in a sea of strange vagueness. Lovely to hear the score live, but mostly a missed opportunity.
12th Feb - Skates - A surprisingly good piece of new writing. Some spellbinding stagecraft and a strong ensemble contributed to the play's homespun, delightful magic.
13th Feb - The Pirates of Penzance - I'll never be a G&S fan, so I suppose I enjoyed this spirited production as much as I possibly could have.
14th Feb - The White Devil - A very good cast and an impressive set, but the glacial pacing and unconvincing final scenes let the production down.
23rd Feb - Merrily We Roll Along - Professional alert!!! Wonderful Sondheim musical given the John Doyle treatment at the Watermill. As usual, the actor-musician thing worked for me, and I loved it and found it deeply moving.
26th Feb - Conviction - a promising but deeply flawed piece of new writing. Hard for any cast members to shine given the unconvincing dialogue they were forced to spout.
29th Feb - Sweet Charity - Er....I didn't love it.
14th March - Dad - Watched in a state of extreme exhaustion so probably not judged fairly. It seemed promising to me, yet never reached its full comic or emotional potential. Some exceptionally irritating performances didn't help matters.