What a grim evening of theatre this turned out to be.
The only ungrim thing about the evening was bumping into George Littlejohn and his good lady in the foyer before the show and then again in the interval. I have known George since 1994 when we met, for reasons that will only be explained to you if you click here, at the 1994 inaugural Accountancy Awards. Only click if you find pompous awards funny; don’t click if you take them seriously.
The play is about young upwardly mobile Viennese trainee doctors in the 1920’s, who should have been among the most happening people on earth were it not for their unfortunate juxtaposition with time and space (i.e. 1920’s Vienna) and their existential angst.
Janie and I hated the first half of the play and resolved not to stay for the second half. I’m not saying that it was either going to be members of the cast, or us, or a mixture of those two cohorts, but suicide was clearly on the cards during the second half. We made absolutely certain it wasn’t going to be us.
Unfortunately for George and his good lady, they had some sort of connection with someone involved in the production, so they stayed for the second half. We wished them luck as we waved them goodbye.
- Our friend, Michael Billington, really liked this play/production and gave it a very good review in the Guardian – click here.
- Philip Fisher in British Theatre Guide latches onto the existential angst theme but also says that this play is worth the revival – click here.
- Kate Bassett in the Independent describes the play/production as “intriguing”…but also as “theatrically wearisome”…click here.
- Charles Spencer’s piece in the Telegraph has a strapline with the phrase “excruciatingly grim”, although that same strapline loses credibility when it suggests that the 1920’s occurred after the Second World War – anyway click here to read what Charles actually said in his piece (including the phrase “after the First World War”).
The irony of the bad straplining of that last piece will not be wasted on George Littlejohn, who was at one time the editor of Accountancy Age, no less, but has since managed to exceed even those giddy heights.
Despite their ordeal, sticking out the whole evening, I am pleasantly surprised, indeed delighted, to report that both the Littlejohns seem hale and hearty at the time of writing (January 2017). Janie and I ran into them both again at the Curzon Bloomsbury on New Year’s Day 2017 – click here, which triggered this memory and hence this write up.