We’re on a bit of a roll at the moment; this was another very interesting piece.
It is a bit difficult to describe this play without spoilers – indeed the Hampstead Theatre staff we spoke to were bemoaning the fact that some of the formal reviews contain spoilers. Janie and I always avoid reading the reviews before we see a play/production, so it wasn’t spoiled for us and I’ll try not to spoil it for you.
The first act is a fairly conventional office politics satire set in a magazine publishing house; well acted and with some delightful vignettes. One ranting speech, towards the end of that act, by the chief fact-checker (played by Bo Poraj) will live long in our memories. Still, such office satires have been done many times and we have seen plenty to know that we are not wild about the genre…
…there is a pivotal moment at the end of the first act which reassured us that the second half of the play would be quite different.
Indeed, the second half was far more interesting and progresses, through two more, shorter, acts, in intriguing ways from the slow build of the first act.
Here is a link to the Hampstead Theatre’s resource on this play/production.
Gloria has deservedly had good reviews from all the majors. It was a great success in its native USA and should do well in the UK too – at the time of writing the Hampstead run has already been extended and a West End run surely beckons.
Go see it.
Janie and I rewarded ourselves with some Chinese food from Four Seasons afterwards.
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.
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.