Saturday, February 04, 2012

Episode 1230: Cheek By Jowl's 'Tis Pity She's A Whore

Was going to go to Kat's birthday party in spite of the increasingly heavy snow, but after waiting at the bus stop nearest to Heronbank for over half an hour, having narrowly missed the U2 and with not a single 12 travelling in the direction of Leamington all the time that I was waiting, I gave up and trudged back to my room to not write my children's story. Earlier in the afternoon, I caught Cheek by Jowl's production of John Ford's 'Tis Pity She's A Whore, which confirmed them in my mind as one of the most exciting theatre companies I've encountered. I did find the dialogue difficult to follow initially, which I think was partly due to my unfamiliarity with Ford's play (hence not being able to anticipate and fill in the blanks myself) and partly due to rushed line delivery from some of the actors. I also initially had reservations about the girlishness of Lydia Wilson's Annabella, especially because Suzanne Burden's Hippolita was such a strong (and hilarious) presence on the stage, but by the end, I was won over because I thought it helped make sense of why she would repent of her incestuous behaviour. I like the fact that the props were all really contemporary, including the wall being plastered with The Vampire Diaries and True Blood posters (although I spotted Breakfast At Tiffany's too). Some people might find it weird that the language of the dialogue wasn't modernised, but the juxtaposition kind of worked for me. Thought it was interesting they took out the character of Richardetto, Hippolita's husband, and changed the ending of the play slightly, so that Jack Gordon's Giovanni isn't shown to die. Instead, there's this spooky moment where Annabella steps forth from the wings, clambers over the dead body of her father, and reaches a hand towards her heart that Giovanni has been holding, the lights fading off just as she's about to make contact. There was also a lot of nudity, which seems to be a Cheek by Jowl thing, if this and last year's Russian production of The Tempest are anything to go by.

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