Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Father

I watched The Father at The Duke of York Theatre and give it a 3/5 rating.

It's a sweet, heartwarming play. An old man losing his sanity to Alzheimer's, confuses his life, refuses the help of a nurse and forgets his own daughter while his daughter and her partner lose their patience, eventually sending him to a home with round the clock care.
Kenneth Cranham with his charm and acting skills steals the show. Deservedly, he won the Olivier for it.
There, that's done.

Now I can say that I didn't like it. The acting was good, the gradual confusion was beautifully done and the sets were nicely setup into a warm living room. But the play was an artist's cry out to be noticed and a rather messy one at that. At one point, I felt like I've had enough and may be I could grab a quick nap.

Hand to God

I watched Hand to God at the Wyndams Theatre and give it a 5/5 rating.

Terribly funny and weird, the play is an American comedy that revolves around a boy and his mother grieving over his father but separately. She turns to God, at least she tries. The boy turns to a puppet. The puppet becomes his alter ego, cruel and hateful and begins to control his life. And what follows is drama that is crazy and hilarious.

The sets are simple yet attention to detail gives it a certain sense of completeness that it absorbs us. The story is pretty simplistic and American which is why I think it got bad reviews in British newspapers. To me it is comedy that grows on you. The play however, was largely upheld by the wonderful actors. Harry Melling was masterful with his puppet and his split personality as a shy awkward teenager and the vicious puppet. Jemima Rooper plays his crush, a quirky teenager who is able to connect with him better than any of the well-meaning adults. She has a sarcastic sense of humour and wonderful in her short scene as a puppeteer. The others, his mother, the pastor at the church, the cool/bad boy, all fill their roles with ease.

Irrespective of the reviews it got, I think it was an entertaining play and I would highly recommend.

The Maids

I watched The Maids at the Trafalgar Studios and give it a 4/5 rating.

The Maids is an old French play. But it was very masterful in being adapted to the modern day and age without actually been adapted. Even if they wore frilly maid like dresses, they are still relatable to all the invisible help of today that are expected to exist around other people's existence.
Laura Carmichael was wonderful with her patronising kindness that switches so dramatically and unexpectedly into cruelty without her seeming to notice the change.

Uzo Aduba looks to be the subservient one not ever playing the pretty Laura in any of the role plays the two maids concoct. She seems never in control and always fearing the dreams her friend makes up that they are so out of reach. However, she turns aggressively mad and rises consciously stronger as she manipulates her partner and friend into taking all the blame when things go wrong. ( I know my interpretation differs from others.)

Zawe Ashton, who is apparently the star of the show, was annoyingly bad. She was a lot like Ophelia in Hamlet, with her voice consistently high-pitched and shaking that is hard on the ear and difficult to understand. So I never really got it when she was actually supposed to be agitated and when she wasn't. It's a bit over the top and while many people have praised her for her performance to hold her voice wavering like that all the time, I think she wasn't able to get a quiver in her voice clearly enough so the director made her shake it all the time.

This shocker play is supposed to have her character in control all the time and end the play with a dramatic finish. It seems like she has no clue what to do and gets shaky and scared all the time and it isn't her mistress but her partner who manipulates her into taking the plunge ultimately. It is true though that her partner doesn't actually expect her to do.

I loved the play. I loved Uzo Aduba for her acting and the story (or my version of it). And I think Jamie Lloyd brought it all together pretty well.