General => Beckett, Bond, Pinter discussion => Topic started by: Sam James on August 31, 2010, 04:23:44 PM

Title: Edward Bond Season in London?!
Post by: Sam James on August 31, 2010, 04:23:44 PM
Hey guys,

Has anybody else heard about this? The Cock Tavern Theatre in Kilburn are mounting a season of Edward Bond's work, including a brand new commission. The plays being produced are

The Pope's Wedding
Olly's Prison
The Underroom
The Fool
Red, Black, Ignorant
The Commission (yet to be announced)

What are your thoughts on these choices, they appear to me to be pretty unobvious and I have to admit I hadn't heard of all of them initially!

www.cocktaverntheatre.com (http://www.cocktaverntheatre.com) for more information!
Title: Re: Edward Bond Season in London?!
Post by: Iain Fisher on August 31, 2010, 11:38:26 PM
This is great- London' s fringe at its best.

As you say they are all interesting but different titles.  I haven't seen any but I have the books of The Fool and Red, Black...

I will try and go to them all, just got to plan in dates and get my season pass.  More soon.

Title: Re: Edward Bond Season in London?!
Post by: Iain Fisher on September 07, 2010, 11:00:27 PM
I've ordered my season pass, £58 for six shows, not bad.
Title: Re: Edward Bond Season in London?!
Post by: Iain Fisher on September 25, 2010, 09:30:22 PM
I just saw Olly's Prison.  If you can, go and see this production.

I didn't know the play so I read it first.  Three acts, the first is very intense as a father confronts his silent daughter, but on the page the second and third didn't work as well.  At times powerful scenes were followed by details of plot which felt unnecessary.

The production shows how good small theatres can be.  With limited resources there is imaginative staging (Rachel Szmukler is the designer), snappy scene changes with actors using the stage and side areas.

The first act is painful beauty with actors Ewan Bailey (Mike) and Melissa Suffield (Shelia) understanding their characters and the emotions underneath.  Suffield has a difficult part to act because she doesn't speak so has to rely on minor movements of the eyes or head to convey emotion.  And Bailey slowly builds up to violence.

The second act is a pretty standard prison drama (The Shawshank Redemption covers the same territory) but Elicia Daly brought Vera to life, with her search for middle class happiness.  She was touching in her simplicity and Daly brought out Bond's dialogue.

The final act covers a lot of plot.  The actors coped well but the writing does need pruning.   The fight scene was the most realistic I have seen on stage (Lawerence Carmichael is responsible for fight movement), reminds me of the first time I saw Blue Velvet.

The whole cast have good performances with some stand out ones.  Director Gareth Corke has created a close to definitive production.

Two and a half hours including an interval.
Title: Olly's Prison
Post by: Iain Fisher on September 27, 2010, 05:37:12 PM
A contrasting review of Olly's Proson by Simon Thomas from www.musicomh.com/theatre/lon_bond-season_0910.htm (http://www.musicomh.com/theatre/lon_bond-season_0910.htm)

"...Olly’s Prison (1993) hardly betrays its origin as a screenplay, with scenes written in great arcs and a poetry that defies TV naturalism. Nuggets of language zing out into the auditorium leaving one in no doubt that this is the work of a master writer.

Gareth Corke’s production begins a little scrappily. Ewan Bailey handles the first 30 minute monologue well but you can’t help feeling more work went into the more obviously complex second half, where the dramatic intensity is racheted up to unbearable levels. It’s shockingly violent and the terrific ensemble handle the difficulties extremely impressively.

A whole new energy comes after the interval with Charlotte Fields’ superb portrayal of the bereaved mother, seething with hatred, and Elicia Daly’s Vera, whose inexplicable devotion to the child-killer is touchingly convincing. They are standout performances in a splendid production which uplifts and thrills despite the grim subject matter..."

Title: The Pope's Wedding
Post by: Iain Fisher on September 27, 2010, 11:18:21 PM
This series gets better and better.

The Pope's Wedding had a rehearsed reading for one day at the Royal Court in 1962.  Such a pity it has not been performed since.

It starts as an ensemble play with lots of characters and little plot development.  Gradually it focusses on Scopey (played by Tim O'Hara), his girlfriend Pat (Rebecca Tanwen) and an old recluse Allen (John Atterbury).  Three strong performances.  The director Conrad Blakemore has succeeded in making the audience interested in scenes of people going nowhere (the gang of youths, Scopey, Allen).  He does this by good use of Bond's sharp dialogue, combined with Beckett like silent scenes.

Again the stage is opened up with a spectacular cricket match- how to fit a full cricket pitch into a few feet of space.

Two hours 15 minutes including an interval.  Well worth seeing.
Title: There Will be More
Post by: Iain Fisher on October 12, 2010, 12:25:32 AM
The new Bond play to be performed at the Cock Tavern is There Will be More.

"Edward Bond's new play is a harrowing portrait of a world gripped by endless war, and of the toll this takes on personal and social relationships. A heroine, Dea, has committed a terrible act and has been exiled; and when she meets someone from her past she is forcefully confronted by the broken society that drove her to commit her crimes. The play simultaneously presents a forceful challenge to contemporary drama: examining its progress, its place and what it does for mankind. It is part of a longer drama in which Edward Bond argues that western drama has exhausted its patrimony and no longer serve a human purpose and it has to return to its profound origins in human need."
Title: The Under Room
Post by: Iain Fisher on October 14, 2010, 12:32:10 AM
Another good production.

The play is set in a cellar (the Under Room) so rather than the performance taking place in the theatre above the pub, it appropriately took place in the pub's cellar.  To get there the audience first had to go UP stairs, then along, then down lots of stairs to the cellar.  Warm, noisy and full of clutter, so a perfect atmospheric venue for the play.

Three actors, one of whom is the voice for a dummy which is used as a character with the actors talking to the dummy not the actor.  Some minor staging irritations- you can decide to show the actor playing the voice, or not show the actor, but you shouldn't make him visible to half the audience and hidden from the other half.  But otherwise the design (Katie Bellman) and direction (Hamish MacDougall) were at the high level of all the plays in the series so far.

The play is powerful- late Bond but one of his best with rich, tight dialogue- I think it was updated from the printed version but I may be wrong.  A political play which doesn't preach.

Donnla Hughes' performance slides from fragile sensibility down to raging psychotic anger.  Her calm in the early scenes makes her violence more unexpected and terrible, both for what she does, and for the state she is left in.  Her fury was disturbing, perfect for the role.

Once again, highly recommended.