Soldiers Talk Restoration & Romance at WOS Q&ADate: 21 March 2007
Theatregoers on our Whatsonstage.com Outing last night (20 March 2007) to The Soldiers' Fortune at the Young Vic Theatre were fortunate enough to enjoy a post show Q&A with several members of the cast – including Anne-Marie Duff, David Bamber, Oliver Ford Davies and Alec Newman – and director David Lan, who joined us for an interesting discussion following their evening performance.
The Soldiers' Fortune, which opened at the Young Vic on 22 February 2007 (previews from 16 February), finishes its run on Saturday 24 March 2007, one week earlier than scheduled (it was originally due to continue until 31 March, See News, 20 Mar 2007).
Thomas Otway’s Restoration comedy, set in 1680, revolves around Beaugard and Courtine who, returning empty-handed to London from wars abroad, hit upon a scheme to improve their fortunes involving bored, young, rich trophy wives - who are in turn out to improve their own status.
The Soldiers' Fortune is the third production in the rebuilt Southwark Theatre’s main space - which was closed between July 2004 and October 2006 while undergoing a £12.45 million makeover - following community opera Tobias and the Angel and Christmas show The Enchanted Pig (See News, 5 Jul 2006).
At last night’s Q&A, which was hosted by What’s on Stage Magazine editor Roger Foss, the cast and director talked about coping with complicated sets, the relevance of restoration comedies, and sex and relationships in the 17th Century.
Highlights from the discussion follow…
David Lan on the return of restoration:
Lan on keeping to the play’s original setting:
Oliver Ford Davies on his false eye in the show:
On the set and the audience:
Oliver Ford Davies: - I have done a lot of work with Sam Walters who runs the Orange Tree theatre in Richmond, which is in the round, and he hates it when visiting directors cut off the back wall. I think in a space like this, which is essentially a theatre in the round, productions do need to be in the round because there is quite a distance from that back wall to the audience on this set.
Alec Newman: - It does sometimes seem to be a long way to travel to the audience. Strangely, when it is a smaller house it can seem easier because you can see exactly where everyone is sitting.
Oliver Ford Davies: - You do have to be careful with the asides if it’s a smaller house, because you have to make sure you’re speaking to people who are sitting there!
David Bamber: - We have had some incredible small houses, though, who have been so responsive.
Oliver Ford Davies and David Bamber on the appeal (or otherwise) of their characters:
David Bamber: - But then he is only too happy to blame the “murder” on my character, Jolly Jumble, who might be a pimp but he is just very jolly and doesn’t do anyone any harm!
Anne-Marie Duff on the appeal of the play:
- by Caroline Ansdell