Tuesday, 1 May 2012
There wasn't even any chocolate involved...
Things that came to mind when I heard Educating Rita:
Mainly Julie Walters
A level text
So as any of you who have read or performed or seen Educating Rita will know, I was still a little far off the mark. But still quite close.
Things I got going to see Educating Rita:
A level text
And I THOUGHT I had grasped the basics. Clearly some of the list can be bypassed...
All in all, not a great production. Very telling when, being one for usually not blinking during a theatre trip, I looked at my watch 15 minutes in. The first half was bland, the first line (spoken by Matthew Kelly's Frank) was forced and unbelievable, and, while Claire Sweeney's Scouse accent was fab (she is a local girl after all) the pairing just did not click... Kelly dragged her down with him. The play is their own personal journeys as well as the emotional one linking them, and, while Rita's was clearly and effectively portrayed, I honestly could not have given a toss about the professor. I felt absolutely no sympathy or empathy or really anything at all for him. Lawks.
This was not helped at all by CARDIGANS. What harm, I hear you say, can a CARDIGAN possibly do? That garment so reminiscent of grandmas and teachers - what bearing did it have on Educating Rita? Well, imagine a small stage, covered mainly in books, with lighting from the back through a 'window' (through which, incidentally, I could see the edge of the backdrop). Now imagine ooooh I don't know, five, six, CARDIGANS littered strategically about this space.
I think the director Tamara Harvey's plan was to indicate the passing of time by not only having Rita change outfit (seriously swift costume changes there Claire) but having Frank swap his knitwear. On stage. When it was partially lit.
After three scenes I felt like screaming 'WE ARE NOT THAT STUPID, TAMARA, DARLING! WE GET IT! A WEEK PASSES! SOMETIMES A MONTH, IF THE PROJECTED TREE OUTSIDE THE WINDOW CHANGES COLOUR! WE KNOW! WE KNOW ALREADY! STOP WITH THE CABLE KNIT!'
It was excruciatingly irritating. And when I pointed it out at the interval to my comrades, they went back in waiting for it, and sure enough, by the end, they were all excruciatingly irritated too. If not asleep. I can't help feeling that the relevance this tale of a plucky Northern lass would have had in the 80's is well and truly dead - the script felt dated, and, especially the younger members of our party, we really didn't get the 'vibe'. I've been told that the film with Michael Caine and Julie Walters is now even more of a must see, as it's still fab.
Dear me. What else to say. Some line foul-ups (NB does anyone know if Rita misquotes Shakespeare, or was it Miss Sweeney? I'm quite sure Macbeth says that the poor player 'struts and frets his hour upon the stage', not 'fruts and strets'... but I wouldn't wish to accuse anyone of misquoting the Master if they are in fact just doing what they've been told). Annoying little level at the back of the stage, but I suppose necessary in such a small theatre.
I really want to stop talking about this now.
And I wanted to say something nice because a friend of mine's dad went out with Sweeney.
I had to say that of course, I couldn't very well go and see her and NOT SAY THAT.
I have to go now, before I start fuming about Franks bloody jumpers again.
Sorry, can you tell exams are coming up?
Posted by Katherine Stevens