I saw the first preview on Saturday, and really enjoyed it! I found the topic interesting and thought provoking, though I felt it was let down by a disappointing final scene. I thought the cast were excellent, and will be interested to see how things progress during the run.
Post by theatrelover123 on Aug 17, 2017 22:29:56 GMT
Dear God this was terrible. Not a single character you care about, could easily lose 20 mins, so many extraneous and unnecessary characters, purports to be something deep and spiritual but the writing is horribly clunky and over written. Amanda Hale good as her characters. The guy playing John and the professor the best thing in it. Wishaw just plays Wishaw. The woman playing Tom's mother embarrassingly bad. Not much set but what was there was used in such a pointless way. Not entirely sure how the Almeida let this one through without spotting the need for serious cuts and rewrites (and some recasting). Lots of empty seats after the interval. It's 2 stars from me and I anticipate a mix of 2 and 3 stars, although there will of course be some 4s as ever. What a shame.
It's not that bad at all imho. I agree the it needs some trimming. It's at least 20 minutes too long but there are some interesting ideas. I would give it 3 stars as it is, but it has the potential to become a 4 star play with a proper rewrite. The main problem for me is that it loses its focus quite often, it has too many subplots which are totally irrelevant and add nothing to main story.
I thought Ben Whishaw was excellent. The rest of the cast were a mixture of good and not so good.
So, for a change actually (and this is not meant critically) the early word of mouth here is in line with the critics. I shall judge for myself in September, possibly adjusting my expectations for this one.
Saw this last night. Unfortunately I booked for this without waiting for the reviews here. Solid 2 stars. Billington reviewed the recent Hamlet with three stars as well, which makes the three stars for Against even stranger. I took away a lot more from Hamlet. Anyway.
It's getting a bit shorter. Started about 5 minutes later and finished 10.20pm. Stalls not completely full but also not noticeably emptier after interval.
I wish the actors were in a better play. First half is entirely unnecessary and could be condensed down to probably half an hour. The second half picks up a bit. Both scenes that worked for me (Luke talking to old school friend & Luke in factory) are in it. Generally, the play seems to suffer from a paucity of ideas (violence is bad - who would have thought) and some potshots against political correctness can't really sustain a play for this length. Anything that could be interesting like Luke's "visions", his ineffectiveness, his privilege is not explored in depth/at all.
The other thing that annoyed me more personally is that the male characters are allowed to have agency, ideas, principles and intellectual ideas whereas women want sex/relationships. Or to watch TV. Real life is frustrating enough, I don't need to see an uncritical version of this on stage.
Yes, I booked before the reviews, but only £10 seats for 9th September so not a big gamble, but it may be hard to talk someone into going with me. Shinn is an odd one - I really liked his play 'Dying City' which I saw about 9 years ago Upstairs at the Court (not least of all because it introduced me to Andrew Scott who was amazing playing two brothers) and though it was very flawed, I didn't hate 'Teddy Ferrera' at the Donmar quite as much as almost everyone else did. But from the reviews here and in the papers this sounds like another messy stab at a topical subject.
I too only booked a £10 seat and it was fine, and imo just as good as those at twice the price (though also supposedly restricted view) that I have always booked before. So now I know this, I shall stick to the cheapest seats in future as I'm happier to risk £10 on something which sounds promising and if I find I like the play, that's a bonus.
I definitely preferred this, flawed as it may be, to Teddy Ferrara, but I think that was partly due to the protagonist being more sympathetic in this case. Don't think I saw Dying City so after this Christopher Shinn will be on my "proceed with caution" list. I think his work is promising so let's hope he delivers before ceasing to be produced.
Saw this last night (when I appreciate the rest of the world was at the first preview of Follies) and thought it was outstanding. I'm baffled, therefore, at the poor reviews on here. Maybe it needed to bed in. I've followed Christopher Shinn's plays since the Royal Court Upstairs stuff and thought that this demonstrated a new level of maturity in his writing. Issues of violence, capitalism, sex, religion and society all discussed but with the subtlest of touches. The performances are, bar none, five star-worthy. The production lets the actorss and the story (told in a quasi-episodic nature, resulting in the evening flying by) breathe brilliantly. Will be interested to see whether it has a future life, here or in the USA.
Interesting, I was there last night too and didn't enjoy it nearly as much.
My primary concern was the unevenness of tone - I felt that the broad anti-PC scenes with the creative writing teacher sat poorly with the more serious tone of Luke's "project", and it probably didn't help that Luke's character was so terrifically annoying (although very well played by Whishaw). There was a hint of anti-Trumpism, a soupçon of modern relationship trials and a dash of anti-technology warnings. To me it didn't add up to more than the sum of its parts - too much trying to get shoe-horned in with the writer not knowing what to actually say about any of them.
I was there last night too, and found it laughably bad.
The skimming over of important issues in order for more privileged characters/the privileged audience to 'learn from them' was appalling, and the few good points made (mostly by the teacher character) were all played for laughs.
It felt like a whistle stop tour of social justice issues, without any research.
After being horribly offended by the crass politics of Teddy Ferrera i wanted to give Shin one last chance to prove himself - his heart appears to be in the right place, but ultimately his work sets his own politics back about 20 years.
Some of us actually thought it wasn't that bad, peggs, or at least an interesting failure. So you may be pleasantly surprised, or intrigued, especially if you go with reduced expectations. But in your position, if I was really concerned about the potential waste of time and money and hadn't paid too much for the ticket, I'd either write off the theatre part of the cost and see something else, or scrub the whole trip.