Friday, 17 August 2012

A Funny Thing Happened in Charlbury

Since Edinburgh venues basically charge by the minute there's an enormous pressure to a) cut the show b) have a really pacy show or quite often c) do both. Still Life is probably a 50 minute show really but with minimal set changes and by keeping it slick we have it down to 43-45 mins. Perfect, in other words.
When you're presenting a Shakespeare or a musical though, it's cut or go bankrupt. I saw Sondheim's "Assassins" the other day, which seemed perfectly adapted at 90 mins. His "Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum", however, had been eviscerated to 70 mins by removing all the songs. It was like panto without the dame - and sadly, also lacked most of the humour. Choice of material is a thorny issue when directing young people and this show, with its double-entendres, seaside postcard humour and Frankie Howerdesque nudge-nudge audience interaction just feels a bit grubby when 16-18 year-olds are made to play it. I'm stunned at how only a couple of years extra maturity results in a largely credible "Machinal" from OUDS or, for that matter, "Still Life".


Anonymous said...

But HOW do you do A Funny Thing...without "everybody ought to have a maid"? Madness, I tell you x

Steve Dineen said...

Even worse, you have Senex say, tantalisingly, "everybody ought to have a maid" before moving swiftly on to the next scene. Agonising x