Fiona Shaw’s NT Mother Delays Opening, 25 Sep
Date: 14 September 2009
The National Theatre has today postponed the press night for Deborah Warner’s new staging of Bertolt Brecht’s 1939 polemic Mother Courage and Her Children, which stars Fiona Shaw in the title role.
The final production in this year’s Travelex £10 Season, it was due to open this Thursday 16 September 2009 (previews from 9 September) in the NT Olivier, where it runs in rep for a limited season to 8 December. It will now have its press performance on Friday 25 September.
An NT spokesperson told Whatsonstage.com that, following a last-minute cast replacement, “the show needs a bit more time and a few more performances” before it faces the critics. With the rep schedule, the postponement provides four more public performances before the press night.
Stephen Kennedy has replaced Peter Gowen as the chaplain. The cast also comprises: Anthony Mark Barrow, William J Cassidy, Johannes Flaschberger, Jonathan Gunthorpe, Stephen Kennedy, Youssef Kerkour, Martin Marquez, Louis McKenzie, Kyle McPhail, Siobhán McSweeney, Harry Melling, Eleanor Montgomery, Stephen O'Toole, Charlotte Randle, Guy Rhys, Clifford Samuel, Gary Sefton, Roger Sloman, Colin Stinton, Sophie Stone, Morgan Watkins and Sargon Yelda.
Mother Courage continues a long and fruitful collaboration between Fiona Shaw and director Deborah Warner. The women have previously worked together on Happy Days, Richard II, The Good Person of Sichuan and The Powerbook at the National, as well as Medea (West End and Broadway), Electra, Hedda Gabler and The Wasteland.
This new version of the Brecht classic is translated by Tony Kushner (Angels in America, Caroline, Or Change) and designed by Tom Pye, with costumes by Ruth Myers and lighting by Jean Kalman.
- by Terri Paddock
|I went to see this version of Mother courage on October 14th for my A level drama course and i loved it. I haven't seen any of the previous versions of mother courage so my opinion may be biased but i really enjoyed it. The lighting and sets were often simple and i felt they worked well. Nothing went wrong though at one point the sound system messed up slightly but it was back on track almost instantly. I loved the music, Duke Special was amazing, and the whole band worked well together. I watched all of it and for those who walked out the second half is not half as long as the first half and ties everything together. Stay untill the end i think it's worth it. - Kat||04 Nov 09|
|Well, I saw it on Thursday night - having suffered both the Judi Dench and Diana Rigg production - and this is simply one of the finest evenings I have had at the theatre for a VERY long time. Not only is the acting almost universally strong and often brilliant (not just Shaw, who excels, but Sophie Stone as Katrin, to name only two) but everything about it is astonishingly accomplished. I love the verve and energy and wit of Kushner's adaptation, I love the chutzpah of the technical staging, the first appearance of Mother Courage and her cart is one of the most stunning and chilling moments of theatre I have seen. Liked Duke Special - most of the music, but more than that, the injection/intrusion of this outsider and altho' the freelance musicians at the National are always outstanding, it's refreshing once to hear a band who are used to playing as a band. I think for some us older ones there it was a play with a gig attached, for others (younger?) it was a gig with a play attached - whichever - it is an event that proves (if proof were needed) that Brecht can be entertaining and provocative and stylistically challenging and moving; I would highly recommend to any teacher struggling to enlighten a class as to what Brecht might be like realised, but also to anyone who cares about theatre. - Tom||26 Sep 09|
|I saw Mother Courage on 14th September. I last saw the play with Judi Dench. It was so marvellous that I wanted to see it again.How sad. I can count the times over 20 years that I walked out of a performance.We are very regular patrons of the NT. At 9.25 when the interval came and we realised we had only reached scene 6 of 12. We decided that we could not face another 2 hours of turgid , self indulgent rhetoric. we thought that the production was going nowhere,it was disjointed ,messy , it looked half rehearsed,people seemed to be losing their way in the script,music was inserted where no music was needed or where it helped in any way. We simply hated the whole production.
How could the NT charge us for such a poor shoddy production. - Aurora||25 Sep 09|
|Well Celia, you must have seen a different show to the one I did, I thought this was one of the worst produced, untidy, self indulgent pieces of theatre I have ever seen. I couldn't even bear to watch the second half and I wasn't alone. The sound quality was appalling. Luckily I love theatre and it won't put me off going, but I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. - Sally||22 Sep 09|
|I saw it last night. Fiona Shaw was BRILLIANT but several things went dangerously wrong.
A key cast member fell over on some slippery stuff. She must have hurt herself but, as the mute daughter, she didn't even gasp but carried on!
The rain making device carried on dripping after the scene in which it was used, making a bad wet patch in a key place on stage.
There was lots more stage management needed for the 100s of props. People ran on from time to time to remove things that were problematic and on the floor.
The waggon, which is a major feature of the play, was difficult to pull around the stage. Fiona Shaw acted her pants off and seemed to be having a great time. At the end she dragged this enormous waggon around the stage single-handed. What a trouper! She's 51 and is looking very fit!!! There were standing ovations.
Sound quality dipped from time to time. Maybe the worst thing was that the final sentence was lost so that the stage went dark without the final punchline being heard.
I am sure there will be post mortems this morning. BUT I really enjoyed the whole 3 and a half hours.
- Celia||15 Sep 09|
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