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Standing Room Only for Young Vic's Hobson???

By • West End
If indeed we may soon have a choice of two Hobsons in London (See The Goss, 26 Jun 2003), there's reason enough to catch both. While the Manchester Royal Exchange Hobson's Choice is a traditional rendering of Harold Brighouse's classic comedy, the one opening tomorrow night at the Young Vic has been re-written by Tanika Gupta and updated to a modern British Asian tailor shop (rather than a cobbler's) set, coincidentally, in Salford, part of greater Manchester. Richard Jones' production has a few more unconventional, site-specific tricks up its sleeve, too. Instead of a quick scene change, the Act Three nuptials requires audience members - aka, the wedding guests, each of whom is issued with an invitation - to make the brief trek across the way to Short Street where the wedding party is held in a garden shed. A Young Vic spokeswoman said there are about 50 seats reserved for those who need them. All other theatregoers (of a maximum 380-stron audience) will look on in standing, promenade fashion for the 25-minute festivities. Afterwards, they're shepherded back to the Young Vic for the final act back in Ali Mossop's shop. Sounds a hoot. Though the to-ing and fro-ing does stretch the evening a bit. All going to plan, the alternative Hobson's Choice should clock in at just under three hours.

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