But it was an incredibly powerful, mood-affecting piece. So much so that Janie suggested, after getting uber-strident over shawarmas at home after the show, that perhaps we should skip these very morally-upsetting subjects at the theatre for a while.
We have long been a fan of Shawn; in my case dating back to seeing the film My Dinner With Andre hundreds of years ago.
Janie and I by chance got to chat with him at the Almeida when he was over for Miranda Richardson’s amazing performance as Aunt Dan in Aunt Dan and Lemon (to be Ogblogged in the fullness of time no doubt)…
In truth, this piece didn’t hit the giddy heights of some of Shawn’s others. The notion of dystopia following scientific tinkering has (in my view) been overdone by others rather more than Shawn’s political and social frets.
The play was more than three hours long, so I suspect we settled for a shawarma supper to take home. The evening certainly kept me and Janie in conversation for the rest of that evening and indeed the rest of the weekend.
Tusk Tusk was another play about a dysfunctional family with an addled mother (absentee mother this time) and several wild kids as the result.
It felt a bit like more of the same to us, which was a shame because we (perhaps unreasonably) expected more from Polly Stenham on the back of her stunningly good first play.
Still, some excellent performances from the youngsters (this must have been the first time we saw the excellent Bel Powley, for example) and the usual Royal Court quality of production, even when the play is being done upstairs.
I recall being most impressed by the performances and the production. Also, the play did its job of getting me and Janie talking about its big issues for the rest of the weekend. Yet this didn’t feel like premier league David Hare to me; I felt there was something lacking in the play.
Sarah Hemming in the FT clearly liked it a lot, comparing it favourably with The Vertical Hour as drama (whereas I would say that The Vertical Hour worked better for me as drama) – click here to read what she wrote;
It was that sort of play/production – influential people were supposed to talk about it but not all that many people got to see it. Janie and I saw a preview, so had every right to wax lyrical from an informed perspective and from the outset.
What good news for everyone that Janie and I tend to keep our counsel to ourselves on such matters.
We thought this was a good play and production, a rare hit in our view during the Anthony Clark era. Perhaps the fact that it was a West Yorkshire Playhouse import helped.
Topical then, topical at the time of writing this Ogblog piece (December 2016), the play is the story of a Ukrainian migrant worker and the exploitative gangmasters he comes up against.
Another of those plays and productions that shocked us and got us thinking all weekend. Friday evening again too, making it quite hard work after a week’s work but never mind. Janie and I had taken sustenance at Harry Morgans early evening before the play, as was our wont when going to the Hampstead in those days.