Sunday, February 14, 2010

Every Good Boy Deserves a Favour - NT Olivier Theatre

Maytrees sister having a spare ticket for the 1977 'Every Good Boy Deserves a Favour'  revival at the National Theatre provided an unexpected  treat for an otherwise gloomy winter Saturday afternoon. Sister doesn't stint  with her theatre  tickets either so first class seats near the front at the Olivier made for feeling part of the unfolding dramas perhaps more than  my normal  seats in the gods, would have done.

Genuinely nutty Julian Bleach is incarcerated in a  1970s style Soviet lunatic asylum. He believes that he is stalked by a whole orchestra which plays intermittently in his head at least though the asylum doctor in his white coat carries around a violin. Bleach makes himself part of the orchestra by hanging on to his musical instrument - a triangle - under his pillow. There is on the stage with him a whole orchestra which amidst clouds of fog   frequently bursts into full sound.  Violence in the musical scores is dramatically also reflected in fightiing or maybe that was intended to be dancing  amongst the orchestra members. On one occasion a young male musician was plucked from his stand (a violinist?) and kicked in the face quite realistically. On other occasions young female musicians were hurled around the stage  with much vigour and gusto and seemingly very brutishly. Adrian  Schiller occupies the other asylum bed on the  stage. He has been incarcerated by the Soviets  because of his demonstrating against their regime.  The son of one or other of them (I couldn't quite work out which) was wheeled in to try to effect a cure but to little avail.

Eventually a larger than life  Russian General enters (stage left naturally) and asks the right questions of the wrong inmates to which Bleach answers by agreeing that the Soviets do not incarcerate sane people and Schiller confirms that he knows that he is not being stalked by an orchestra  so the General declares them both cured and fit for release - cue for more fog  music and chaos.

Hugely entertaining but serious thoughts on heading for the exits at the end were firstly, how although thankfully the Soviet era is now at an end, this play does indeed reflect much of the "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch" mood that I  clearly recall prevailed in the Cold War era of the 1970s. Secondly and sadly, how many sane people today are being incarcerated in Iran for demonstrating against the regime in power there?

Many thanks to maytrees' little sister.

1 comment:

  1. I do envy you, Jerry, getting to see the sort of plays you mention in your blog. We did once take out a season ticket for the theatre in Dijon, but were put off not so much by the quality of the acting as the choice of plays - either Molière, Racine, etc. or obscure modern dramas. From what I read, London must be the theatre capital of the world at the moment.

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