I think this may be unsalvageable
I saw Much Ado last night with Much Anticipation. After the wonderful Driving Miss Daisy, to see Vanessa Redgrade and James Earl Jones together again promised much. To be fair it was a preview and the opening night is still over a week ago but there is a lot to do and a lot that can't be fixed. The stage design is horrible - just a giant wooden box which creates two problems - firstly the acoustics are terrible as sound reverberates around (coupled with some pretty poor delivery) and secondly it seems impossible to light so the front of the stalls remain lit throughout. Fine performances might have compensated but this is a cast struggling with the text that you just end up willing them to get through it. Having been spoilt by two great Much Ado's in recent years - David Tennant / Catherine Tate and Eve Best / Charles Edwards - this, I'm afraid to report is a real clunker.
Much Ado About Nothing on Wednesday, Sep 11th, 2013
Have the last 30 years of theatre not happened?
Oh my... I'm having a bad week... Having seen the preview of Much Ado About Nothing last night where the cast were struggling to remember the lines, sadly in this preview of Barking in Essex, the cast could remember every line. I really don't know how this play made it onto the West End stage. The cast gamely battle on but when your only humour is coming from Lee Evans' facial manoeuvres and Sheila Hancock (bless her) repeating dropping the c bomb, you know you're in deep theatrical trouble. A shocker.
Barking in Essex on Thursday, Sep 12th, 2013