Old Vic Theatre
103 The Cut
(7mins) Take Mepham Street (100 metres) down to Waterloo Road. Turn right on Waterloo Road, but keep left as the theatre is 100 metres further along on the opposite corner.
|Booking From:||Friday, 29th November 2013|
|Booking Until:||Saturday, 30th November 2013|
|Matinees:||Thursday and Saturday 2pm|
|Evenings:||Monday to Saturday 7.30pm|
This afternoons performance was ruined by young people in the dress circle seats S19,20,21,22,23 & 24, they were giggling & on their mobile phones throughout. It made it hard to hear what Vanessa Redgrave was saying.
Although we had prime seats, I couldn't hear what was being said (particularly James Earl Jones and the American actors). I also think that it's a great pity that modern directors always feel that they have to stamp a production with their own personality; the motor cycle goggles and the US uniforms looked ridiculous. I was vastly disappointed.
To his list of arrogant contributions to the diminution of Shakespeare’s reputation in favour of his own, Mark Rylance can add his matinée desecration of "Much Ado About Nothing" at The Old Vic, on the 14th September, 2013. Dressed bizarrely as Autolycus, in old theatre props, this weedy director passed us on The Cut as we made our way to the theatre. Rylance ended up sitting in the row behind us, primed presumably, in his storied preference for ignoring negative reviews such as this, to see how many seats, along with our own would be empty for the second half.
It was excruciating to see a wizened and bizarrely cocksure Vanessa Redgrave walk on with arthritis, having arrived in Messina on a broomstick. She was kitted out in a ludicrous pair of ill-fitting jodhpurs and riding boots that might have formed part of the Kelly Taylor Villa Windsor auction of Wallis Simpson's lingerie, handbags, and luggage in 1997; except that they were certainly too big for Wallis Simpson (or her beau) and notably massy for their present incumbent. James Earl Jones, blundered on in a khaki jumpsuit, presumably tailored to allow for everyday geriatric accoutrements and a personal colostomy bag. At one point he grabbed his crotch as if he was a young man online for a Brooklyn gang-bang with his eyes on Tra-La-La. Before a word passed between this puffed man and Beatrice, the audience, endearingly tittered at lines they had studied for life-times; not sure when to laugh but intent on showing their favour, at familiar knots in the text, for such an illustrious cast and production.
Soon however the magic that they had expected, the famous badinage between the two lovers, made intelligible in Kenneth Branagh’s masterpiece of 1993, was trampled onto the black polished floor that sloped up and away from us on the set.
If you remove the cathode ray tube from a Bang and Olufsen rosewood veneered TV set circa 1970 you will have the rudiments of the spare set. The GI uniforms of the soldiers arrived back from the wars did not endear us to our World War II saviours. It was dispiriting to see on stage the reality as Alzheimer’s disease alone enlivened the stricken features of James Earl Jones, wrestling on our behalf with his lines.
The desecration was so complete, and the experience so appalling, we decided, having paid once, (£47 each) that we would not pay again and left before Dogbery walked the boards.
An awful production. Lots of people left at the interval. We even saw Rylance making notes from the balcony. Redgrave & Jones were dreadful. Over-the-hill? Maybe give the youngster a chance. A waste of time and money. Not up to the standard one expects from The Old Vic.
I saw the production on 7th September with my wife and 2 sons. We were all very disappointed with pretty much everything.
Few of the actors delivered their lines convincingly, and it was even difficult to hear some of them so poor was their projection. I honestly wasn't sure whether they understood the words they were saying - just because you have an American accent it doesn't mean you can't respond to the rhythm and cadence of the lines.
The two bought in stars, James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave, were frankly embarrassing - neither was credible playing their individual parts, and absolutely no chemistry between them.
The set and lighting were dull, which wouldn't have mattered so much if the content had been strong, but given the weakness of the delivery I was left with the impression that the whole thing had been thrown together at the last moment.
I was particularly annoyed by some of the gimmicks that were thrown in (blues signing, comedy dancing by old man, children acting some of the minor parts) - it seemed that they were a last ditched attempt to win the audience over.
What astounded me was the rapturous applause when the curtain fell - I really couldn't see anything good in the production. It wasn't just a matter of not liking the interpretation and characterisation, which could be viewed as a matter of personal taste. It was just plain bad theatre.
This was a really poor production. James Earl Jones kept forgetting his lines. Vanessa Redgrave was difficult to hear. It was a half hearted performance and at times chaotic.
Saw last night's performance and it was depressingly bad. Both Redgrave and Jones sleep-walked through the entire performance. Redgrave was totally inaudible for Act 1 and the movements of both leads were sluggish (at 70 myself I can appreciate the links to age but...) and uninspired. Definitely a downer if anyone is serious about theater