I was sickened to see this production at our glorious National Theatre of Great Britain. Not only do I fail to see why anyone but would want to revive this stale old chump of play, but the cast! I am staggered... is this the best this latest so-called hero of the London stage can do? Is he forced into these cast members because of National Theatre company loyalties? I have seen so many wonderful actresses around the country, on tour, or in the provinces... I recall a beautiful production of this very play at The Royal Exchange in Manchester about 7 years ago with a wonderful cast. this was woeful. not Fancesca Annis - she gave a good and truthful performance, as did fenela Woolgar - up to a point - but hten she went no deeper... but the rest of them! I am truly lost for words. They were quite staggeringly bad and i have to hope that hot-shot directors like Mr Goold purports to be begin to pay attention to talent rather than laziness and get actors who are actually good instead of the frankly embarrassing ludicrous turns who I saw out there tonight! I am most dismayed! - offy
06 Aug 09
Strangely for a director with such a unique vision, I feel that Rupert Goold has allowed himself to be heavily influenced for his National Theatre debut. Stephen Daldry's An Inspector Calls seems to have persuaded Goold that J.B. Priestley is a supernatural writer and he has also thrown in some Katie Mitchellesque nonsense at the end of Acts II & III which add nothing to the play except to allow Mitchell's disciple, Hattie Morahan, to indulge in some weird expressionistic "dancing". Goold has also persuaded his cast to act in a highly stylised way which may have been in vogue during Priestley's time but just seems odd in these more naturalistic times. Despite all this interference Priestley's intriguing story of a family and their possible destiny just about survives and there are good performances from Francesca Annis as a matriarchal monster and a thankfully understated Paul Ready as Alan, regarded as a weak failure by his family but a bastion of decency.
- David Baxter
26 Jul 09
Gosh, this was dreary. 3 hours going nowhere and then a big directorial flourish at the end of each Act (which added nothing to the play). Meanwhile the actress playing Kay gave one of the most mannered performances I've seen at the NT. - addicted to theatre
29 May 09
What the National does best is well cast revivals of classic plays (The Voysey Inheritance, etc). But why the need to patronise the audience with cobbled on 'routines' - I think we knew it was about TIME just from the title! It's time directors trusted the text and their actors more, as with the (more disappointing) All's Well upstairs, they are more about enhancing their directors' reputations and less about the actual play.
29 May 09
Well, another 3.5 really. I like Priestly, but I've never seen this play before. I'm still not sure if the second act represents a future reality or if it's Kay's prophesy, or maybe a result of her mental state? It held my attention, in some ways it intrigued and fascinated me, and it was good to see another Priestly....but I can't say it was an entirely satisfying evening at the theatre. What's this dance at the end? - not last night! Yet again at the Lyttleton, the designer ignores the sightlines of about a third of the audience by 'designing in' significant blind spots for anyone at the sides or front. Shame on you! - Gareth James
29 May 09
Oh this is so outmoded it defies belief. You have to wonder why this is on at the National when there must be at least one new play that has something to say, rather than this hackneyed piece of tat that fails to have the courage of it's convictions and loses it big style in Act 3. And what on earth is that added on dancing ending supposed to represent. Hattie Morahan seems to be playing Cate Blanchett-lite in Act 2 and throws the whole production off kilter, you just can't believe it's the same person as we've seen in Act 1 and see again in Act 3. - quincymd
28 May 09
The WOS reviewer must have been seeing a completely different play to me. I thought this a wonderful production, rich in invention, superb ensemble playing, beautifully designed and totally engaging - any more superlatives I can think of? I didn't know the piece, and went as a fan of Rupert Goold, he doesn't disappoint. In my NT experiences this comes second only to the original production of The History Boys. Go see:) - Widow Twanky
15 May 09
Probably the best ensemble cast I've seen at RNT for a long time; not one weak link. However Paul Ready is outstanding. As with Ogust County I did not want the play to end - where is Act IV? Rupert Goold's direction is tight and imaginative. A classic piece of British theatre. So heartening to see the Lyttleton filled with people of all ages. What lucky people Londoners are! - Carrie
05 May 09
Alhough the acting is excellent especially from Francesca Annis and Hattie Morahan this play is overlong and boring with two intervals that made it three hours long. I wondered what the designer Lanna Hopkins and director Rupert Gould thought they were doing with those black curtains which obscured some of the set at the end of act one and during the back projection bit at the end of the play for members of the auidience who sat on the sides of the auditorium and what that back projection bit had to do with the play I do not know as it did not add anything to the story and appeared to be there just to give something unusual to this dire night in the theatre. I am sorry to say that this production like Swine flu should be avoided. The second worst thing at the National with the first being Dido. - ils
30 Apr 09
Agreed, it was sparkling - especially the first act, where the girls are so vivacious, and Adrian Scarborough is so perfectly not. Also against my better judgement and despite wigs ranging from John Hurt's ginger curls as Quentin Crisp to Dame Hilda Bracket's final coiffure, Annis did as good as job as anything I've seen her in. The wigs were alarming, though, including Hattie Morahan's second act pair of mating hamsters. But the whole thing bowled along - although what was that bizarre nonsense with mirrors and back projection at the end all about? - JohnnyFox
29 Apr 09
Brilliant! And the first preview too. OK, it went up late, but when you see it you'll realise what at first appears to be a static set is anything but and as the acts progress it becomes even more ingenious. A terrific cast led by the superb Francesca Annis in top form as Mrs Conway who ages more than most glamorous actors would ever wish to. Rupert Goold has done justice to Priestley's enigmatic script. This is what The National ought to be doing instead of some of the tosh that's been served up by them of late. 10/10. - rds
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