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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: June ::
Playgoing in England 1993
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 401.  Sunday, 27 June 1993.
 
From:           Cliff Ronan <
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Date:           Saturday, 26 Jun 1993 21:11:50 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:        Playgoing in England 1993
 
June 26, 1993
 
I wish I had reported on my May playgoing in England earlier.  But better late
than never.
 
If SHAKSPEeans get a chance to see *The Changeling* at the RSC Barbican Pit
they should.  And they might want to call ahead for tickets, since even in May
they were hard to get for anything in the Pit.  The box office number is
71-638-8891. Malcolm Storry plays a blond psychopathic football player of a
DeFlores to Cheryl Campbell's cheerleader, the most vivacious and pretty coed
ever to have that job.  The virginity tests are outrageously funny, reflecting
poorly on the leaden-headed Alsemero, skillfully played by Michael Siberry.
 
Ron Cook's handling of the lead in the adaptation of Brome's *Jovial Crew* is
one of the best things in the Pit's wonderful performance of that play.
 
The best of the other Tudor-Stuart productions I saw was the RSC RST Stratford
*Lear*, where stage devices with no textual basis worked actually very well (a
Daliesque globe that splits oven and fills the stage with running sand).  The
RNT *Macbeth*, as an earlier posting rightly said, deserves to be avoided.
Passable overally and interesting in a scene or two (O'Donnell's Touchstone) is
the RSC Barbican *AYL*; and overall, the same group's *Ant* is sporadically
half-interesting.  But about both these productions ther are to many moments of
intellectual dullness, directorial and acting somnolence.
 
Half the plays that had huge stages frittered away the texts on catchy stage
design and showy technological inventions.  Exceptions included *Beggar's
Opera* (since closed), *Trelawney of the 'Wells'*, and the aforementioned
*Lear.*
 
West End theaters still seem able to present exciting and reliable productions,
to judge from the Wilde, Shaffer, O'Casey, and Rattigan I saw there, and of
course the small NATIONALLY subsidized theater like the RNT Cottesloe, the
Donmar, the Royal Court, the Almeida, and I presume the Swan and Other Place in
Stratford.  I stress national subsidy because I attended a Webster-Brecht-Auden
*Duchess of Malfi* under borough sponsorship in Chelsea, much to my immediate
chagrin.
 
I understand that present and future plays for this summer include RSC
Barbican's *Taming* *Taming* and *Winter's Tale, RSC Stratford's *Caesar*,
*Ghosts,* *Country Wife*, *MV*, *Tmp*, and Goldoni's *Venetian Twins*.  Later
there will be *AWW,* *Tamburlaine*, and *Wallenstein* in London.  I do not know
what the National Theatre's offerings will be at the same times.
 
Gloriously, the play is still more the thing in England than anywhere else in
the world.
 
Cliff Ronan, Southwest Texas SU
 

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