Why has this sold so well? Are Duncan and Jennings really a big draw?
Yes, i think they are plus they have been away for a little while.
I thought Duncan gave a fine -- and unusual portrayal of Judith Bliss in Hay Fever (2012). She was not as OTT as that character gives license to be. Great cast, including Freddie Fox, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Jeremy Northam, and Olivia Colman. Appropriately at the Noel Coward Theatre.
I'm intrigued about first-time writer Simon Woods - quite a coup for the old Etonian and Magdalen College actor.
It is odd isn’t it, his debut play on at the NT. How does that work ? We have been told here several times that the NT will only stage plays they have commissioned, so they commissioned a play from someone who’d never written one before ? Why ?
I doubt Sir David Hare will be all that happy, thought he had cornered the market for Guardianista political plays at the NT.
I presume there is a process; perhaps it starts with submitting an outline, that is then taken forward and a detailed treatment produced, eventually it's workshopped ... it must have gone through many hands and many hoops. Three months in the Lyttleton is a serious investment by the NT; reputations risk being at least bruised.
Looking at the trailer, I notice there has been some funding for this from the Arts Council, and no less than five associated talks are listed. The plot thickens ...
Are you suggesting a little skulduggery, dear doctor?
Not really, I’m just curious. In my naive way I thought if you wrote a play and sent it in to them they’d read it and if it was any good they’d put it on, but we’ve been told here several times by someone with inside knowledge this isn’t how it works at all. I start from a position of goodwill towards the author because he was in Cranford.
I remember once someone’s debut (and final) play was put on in the West End, that was pure skulduggery as I learned decades later, involving one of our greatest stars. Actually in the debut=final category there was also that Imogen Stubbs thing that transferred to the West End when she was co-incidentally married to Trevor Nunn - they got Juliet Stevenson in that one.
The proof of the pudding will be in the eating. If it is a good play, then well spotted NT. If not, then we shall know........though I suppose good plays which would otherwise sink can get a helping hand from ‘friends’ .
It is interesting though that even though no one has seen the show yet, National Theatre Live have already announced that they’re filming it so they seem pretty confident that people are going to warm towards it. I doubt it will get the same sort of response When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other did earlier this year but who knows?