Wednesday, 14 January 2009

'Every Good Boy Deserves A Favour' - National Theatre

My first theatrical outing of the year was to see 'Every Good Boy Deserves a Favour' by Tom Stoppard and Andre Previn (or Mr Preview of old) at The National Theatre. It's a bit of an oddity with an orchestra on stage on a revolving platform that moves the stage round for the main scenes.

It's the tale of a madman with an orchestra in his head and a sane man with political principles who share a room in an asylum in Russia. Both the madness and the politics seem to go a tad too far now and then but it makes for an interesting contrast. It's tightly controlled and almost claustophobic at times despite the big stage. I suppose it's asking who is really sane?

At just over an hour in length it makes for interesting viewing (and you get home easily before the pubs-out hoardes hit the transport system). It's a thoughtful piece but I couldn't help but wonder whether you could write a full-length play about a man with an orchestra in his head...

I also found myself wondering about the children of dissidents in the '50s and '60s and what happened to them? What were their lives like? Did they appreciate the sacrifices of their parents and are proud of them or did they just wish they were at home like the parents of their friends?

I wasn't expecting to see Bronagh Gallagher in the play. I saw her last year in 'War Horse' in the same theatre and, of course, we all saw her in 'The Commitments' and 'Pulp Fiction' decades ago. She's crafted a good career for herself and I was quite impressed with her tonight, walking a tightripe between chilling and comforting as the teacher of the political prisoners' son. She was oh so reasonable and oh so cold. A nice performance.

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