Saturday, 30 January 2010

Six Characters in Search of an Author at the Sydney Festival

Thrilled to read in today's SMH that Six Characters in Search of an Author hasn't been selling well. I'm pretty certain it's the same production I saw at Chichester last year. Having read the play at university 25 years ago, I was very excited to see it at last. What a disappointment. I was so disgusted I wrote about it at the time, in the hope of letting off steam. It didn't make me feel any better. Actions do speak louder than words it turns out and what I really needed to do was go and punch Rupert Goold on the nose, but unfortunately we've never been introduced. Anyway here's what I wrote then, in my futile attempt to get 'closure':

Director Rupert Goold describes his method as ‘conceptual buggering around’ but what he has done to Six Characters in Search of an Author is bugger it up. Pirandello’s 1921 play deals with fiction and reality and – particularly poignant so soon after WWI – the immortal nature of fictional characters. Goold ignores this and instead makes the play a vehicle for an examination of the dilemmas of television documentary/docudrama making. Splendid performances from Ian McDiarmid, with his Commedia dell’Arte mask of a face, and Denise Gough, circling the stage on one roller skate, a blonde harpy seeking revenge, cannot disguise the weakness of the resulting production. Despite his trademark moments of gaudy fairground horror, there is no hiding the fact that Goold has trivialised the work. Flashing lights and spectacular onstage throatslashings may be just the thing to bring in audiences though. If so, Goold deserves an Olivier award for crowdpleasing.

Anyway, pleasing to note that throatslashings don't bring in Sydney audiences - and the New Year's fireworks mean they've had enough of flashing lights for a while. So yah boo sucks Mr Goold. (And his latest production at the ENO got utterly trashed, hurray, hurray, hurray.)

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