Posts Tagged ‘Roger Sloman’

I’ve always thought this a well-structured, well-plotted comedy; but I’m used to seeing a less radical, less farcical production and I’m not entirely convinced Timothy Sheader’s broad cartoonish take on it serves it well – though in all fairness I did warm to it as the evening progressed.

There’s a giant 3D frontispiece which rises to reveal a group of ‘dandies’ singing the first in a series of narrative songs specially composed by Richard’s Sisson & Stilgoe, then the first of Katrina Lindsay’s pop-up book sets. The Olivier’s drum revolve is well used to deliver the other three settings. It’s technically outstanding and looks great, but…..

Arthur Wing Pinero’s late 19th century play revolves around a lie told by the Magistrate’s wife in order to bag him. She takes five years off her age, which requires her to take 5 years off her son’s age, making him a 14-year old in a 19-year old body. He leads her husband astray (as a 19-year-old might) and she seeks to make other complicit in her deception so it isn’t revealed.

Though the acting style is somewhat OTT, in keeping with the directorial style, there is much to admire in the performances. For me, John Lithgow has to live up to both Nigel Hawthorne and Iain Richardson as the magistrate and he acquits himself very well indeed. Nancy Carroll continues to impress, here the broadest and loudest I’ve ever seen her as the magistrate’s wife. Joshua McGuire pulls of the task of making a 19-year old 14-year old believable to great effect.

There’s luxury casting in the smaller roles from Nicholas Blane as the other magistrate, Jonathan Coy as the Colonel, Roger Sloman as the chief clerk and Alexander Cobb & Beverley Rudd as servants. Don Gallagher & Christopher Logan provide delicious French caricatures as the hotel proprietor and waiter.

It’s an enjoyable evening, and thoroughly suitable seasonal fare, but despite the inventiveness and talent it falls short of greatness by its lack of subtlety.


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This is a pair of shorts by Arthur Miller which we haven’t seen in London for 23 years, so how can a Miller fan resist.

In I Can’t Remember Anything, we’re with neighbours Leo & Leonora. (It’s only now, 12 hours later, that I’m pondering the significance of those names – two sides of the same character / personality?). They are in life’s endgame, forever recalling the past, often disagreeing. Miller seems to be exploring how memories change depending on what we want to remember, our hindsight and disposition. He paints a rather poignant and moving picture of ageing which is beautifully staged and performed with great humanity by real husband-and-wife team David Burke and Anna Calder-Marshall.

Clara is a detective story. We’re in the apartment of Clara, who has been murdered, with her father and the detective who is questioning him. In a state of shock, her father is struggling to recall things, including the name of the ex-con who his daughter was seeing and who may be a prime suspect. He has visions of his daughter the detective doesn’t see and on one occasion they talk. Of course, it isn’t really a detective story as we’re again exploring issues of memory. Rolf Saxon as the father and Roger Sloman as the detective are both outstanding.

I’d be lying if I said I understood exactly what Miller is trying to say, but it certainly makes you think. Whatever you decide, you have to accept that director Ed Viney and designer Anna Finch have given them impeccable productions with the help of a first class cast that the best theatres in the land would be proud to have. Another gold star for Jermyn Street Theatre.

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