The March On Russia by David Storey, Orange Tree Theatre, 7 October 2017

Back in the late 1980’s. when I read a heck of a lot of plays as my “commute fodder”, I remember wanting to like David Storey’s plays but never enjoying reading them. I wanted to like them, because I knew his son, Jake, at University, which was as close as I got to actually knowing a playwright back then. But I always found the plays themselves naturalistic to the point of being dull.

But I had never seen a David Storey performed and now he has died and Daisy liked the sound of this one and it is supposedly one of his most autobiographical ones and it was the Orange Tree…

…so off we went.

I’m going to guess that this is about as good a production of a David Storey as one might find. Excellent cast, fine young director in Alice Hamilton, whose work we have enjoyed before. (Although German Skerries,which she also directed, was a naturalistic, dull, late 20th Century play which sent us to sleep.) Plus, the Orange Tree “in the round” treatment suits this type of naturalistic chamber play.

This production of The March On Russia has had excellent reviews – quotes, links and other resources about the production can be found on the Orange Tree’s site – here.

But I did find the play dull. It was borderline for me whether we stayed on for the second half, but Daisy guessed, correctly, that the drama would unfold in a rather more interesting way second half. I’m glad we stayed. I’m glad I’ve seen a David Storey. Neither of us will be rushing back to see another of his, though.

We debated this and more over a delicious Spanish meal at Don Fernando after theatre, as is our habit post Orange Tree, making the evening as a whole worthwhile and enjoyable.

Medea by Euripedes, a new version by Rachel Cusk, Almeida Theatre, 26 September 2015

This was a very powerful modern adaptation of Medea, wonderfully acted, directed and produced.

Kate Fleetwood was superb as the increasingly crazed Medea; so was Justin Salinger as the creepy, unreasonable Jason.

Of course, this was a modern adaptation, so it doesn’t quite end as the bloody original, but it does naturally end in tears.

Both of us were really struck by the power of this production; Janie has a natural aversion to ancient works but this modern adaptation did enough to keep her engrossed.

As always these days, an excellent Almeida stub with all the details and resources you might want if you want to know more, including links to pretty much all the reviews as it was universally heaped with praise – click here.

So I need say no more.