Thursday, March 02, 2017
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Difference between sports and games, use of passed out vs graduated, usage of he/him to refer to more than one person in the same paragraph leading to confusing understanding, etc show case the lack of good editors more than anything else.
Saturday, January 21, 2017
Thursday, December 01, 2016
I watched Sir Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in Harold Pinter's No Man's Land at Wyndham's Theatre. I normally assign a rating afterwards but I'm not sure about this one.
It is a strange play. I understand the No Man's Land between the living and the dead, where memories exist and disappear at the same time. But the story itself is hard to follow so much so that I'm not surprised if people say there isn't one. Yet it explains the no man's land effectively. It leaves you with this unsettling feeling that life is slipping out ever so slowly and there is little you can do about it. In that sense, it is a well written abstract play, and nothing like those modern abstract plays that try so hard to be cool by being abstract (check out my favourite scapegoat, The Valley of Astonishment).
Having said that, the play is only as good as its actors. And Ian McKellen holds it all together, with little support from Patrick Stewart. The other characters are entirely dispensable. I don't know if that's how it was meant to be. If not for McKellen, there would be no play.
Even at the age of 76-77, performing at length with such brilliance and dedication, I was just glad to be in audience to watch Sir Ian McKellen. And I'm so glad to have been able to see the two actors on stage, and together.
So I suppose, I would like to give it the best rating for the experience. But remove one actor and the play falls away, hence it really deserves a lower rating. So, best to leave it be...
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
I watched The Spoils at the Trafalgar Studios and give it a 4.5/5 rating.
We went to watch it for its star cast (Jesse Eisenberg, Kunal Nayyar, Alfie Allen) and it's got rave reviews on the Broadway.
It certainly lived up to it. Written by Jesse Eisenberg, it looks at the life of a spoilt rich brat in his late twenties. The humour is good and the acting is brilliant. Everyone fits well into their roles but of course, it's Jesse Eisenberg's play, written for himself. He is natural at it, not just wanting but believing himself to be the centre of the universe. In some ways, so is Kunal Nayyar naturally in his comfort zone of a hard-working immigrant. Alfie Allen (so different from his sad existence on Game of Thrones) is a bubbly happy man about to marry the love of his life. He works at an asset management firm which people his age think is success, except our self-centred protagonist. Among Game of Thrones' finest actors, his acting prowess is wasted in a one dimensional character which of course he plays incredibly well.
Annapurna Shriram is strongly subtle (if such a description exists) with few lines but all of them filled with character. Even her little toe is probably in character, playing a competitive, ambitious doctor. Katie Brayben is unremarkable.
The set is simply a Manhattan apartment, much like a city flat. But well done with a little balcony and a small kitchen.
The ending is a random. I think it should have ended when our protagonist passes out on the floor. Or if sometime later Kunal comes back, picks him up and takes him to his room, out of pity. The current ending is weird, out of place and unfair to Kunal in some ways.
And as brilliant as the play may be, it feels like Jesse Eisenberg is limited in his creativity and it's this kind of man-child role and humour is all we can expect from him. Still it makes for good entertainment. I strongly recommend.
Thursday, May 26, 2016
I watched The Threepenny Opera at the National Theatre and give it a 5/5 rating.
Now then, it received mixed reviews but I thought it was wonderful entertainment. And to think Rory Kinnear is a bad guy, Casanova and a true opportunist! He wasn't the lovable parish in The Casual Vacancy or the self-sacrificing Prime Minister in Black Mirror or the victimised citizen in The Trail. But then, I missed him as Iago a few years ago and now that I can see how perfect he would have been, I regret more.
It is a funny play with minimal sets. I shouldn't say minimal actually, because it really was the set of a set, with the scaffolding and all that.
It was interestingly a musical, one I would not have expected on National Theatre, but of course, nothing like the West End production extravaganzas. It was also one of the few old plays the I liked.
PS: I delayed it for so long it makes little sense to publish it, except for my own logs.