The Westbridge by Rachel De-lahay, Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, 26 November 2011

We thought very highly of this play and of this production.

Here is a link to the Royal Court resource on this play/production.

As soon as we entered the Royal Court Upstairs, we felt a bit un-nerved by the arrangement – we seemed to be sitting higgledly-piggledly on top of the action.

This production had started its life in a Peckham outreach location – a former cricket bat factory it transpired, which probably explains the unusual layout of the room.  The working title of the play had been SW11, so I think  Rachel De-lahay originally had a Battersea Estate in mind rather than a Peckham one – little matter.

The action was full of ethnic and inter-generational tensions. Very well written – where is Rachel De-lahay now (he asks, writing in 2018)?

Here is a link to a search term for the (mostly excellent) reviews.

Here’s the trailer…or rather playwright/director interviews…for the production, which was shot at that Peckham site:

The Veil by Conor McPherson, Lyttelton Theatre, 19 November 2011

Gosh I remember how disappointed we were by this one.

We had loved Conor McPherson’s previous work whenever we had seen it – especially but not only The Weir.

But this play, set in the early 19th century, just left both of us feeling cold.

Super cast, with several of the “usual suspects” for Irish plays, not least Bríd Brennan. Plus an early sighting of Caoilfhionn Dunne.

But for us, nothing could quite save this play.

I remember saying afterwards that it was like “Chekhov had written a ghost story” and I remember smiling when I subsequently saw one of the reviews saying just that.

Here is a link to a term that finds the (mixed/indifferent) reviews.

I think we stuck it out on the strength of the performances and the hope that it would liven up in the second half.

Below is an interview with Conor McPherson about the play…

…and below this is the NT trailer for the production:

Oh well.

Next Time I’ll Sing To You by James Saunders, Orange Tree Theatre, 12 November 2011

This is the sort of play/production that we like so much more in theory than we do in practice.

Here is a link to the Orange Tree’s excellent on-line resource for this production.

The idea of it is wonderful. It is an innovative 1960’s play exploring the meaning of life through the story of a successful man who decides to become a hermit.

Also, James Saunders had a long association with Sam Walters and the Orange Tree, which was being celebrated by this revival.

The play does have flashes of brilliance, humour and insight to it, but in truth we found it fairly hard going as an evening in the theatre. There is one heck of a lot of existential angst involved.

Here is a link to a search term that finds the reviews.

I remember being quite excited by the coincidence of the koi carp on the cover of the programme…

The Price Of Fish (still available at all good book outlets, including the one you can click through here and below) was first released that very same weekend, resplendent with its dollar koi imagery: