Thursday, 4 February 2016

Review: 'The Real Thing' By Tom Stoppard (Rewritten)

Hi everyone,

I have taken the decision to rewrite a theatre review from a production I went too see around three and half years ago at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds. I have chosen to do this, as I wasn't 100% happy with the first version of this review. So, I'm hoping this time I can do it some justice, even though time travelling back three and half years to write a review proved to be a little difficult, as it wasn't completely fresh in my mind.


Henry - Gerald Kyd
Charlotte - Sarah Ball
Annie - Marianne Oldham
Max - Simon Scardifield
Billy - Adam O'Brian
Broadie - Sandy Batchelor

The opening of Act One starts with Max sitting alone in the living room, and he building a tower using a set of playing cards. Suddenly, Charlotte arrives back from her holiday in Geneva, Switzerland. All isn't as it seems as Max has found Charlotte's passport and it isn't stamped. It turns out that she has been seeing her other lover. The opening scene forms part of Henry's new play 'House of Cards'.

  Charlotte goes downstair and see Henry going through his records, as he is due to appear on 'Desert Island Discs' as a castaway next week. Henry informs Charlotte that Max is coming round, but she doesn't want to see him. So far, Henry has got five records and a book for his appearance on 'Desert Island Discs'. Max then arrives at Henry's house and they begin to discussing Henry's new play 'House of Cards'. It turns out the audience didn't have a clue what Max is going on about when he begins talking about the Japanese and digital watches; and also the stalls inside the theatre were deserted. Max then mentions that Annie is on the 'Justice for Broadie' committee. Annie then arrives and Henry mentions again that he is on next weeks 'Desert Island Discs', and it turns out that Henry actually hates music, but he likes pop music. But he doesn't like artists, he just likes singles.
  The pop music that Henry enjoys listening too include Herman's Hermits, The Hollies, The Everly Brothers, Brenda Lee and The Surpremes.
  While Charlotte and Max are out of the room; Annie starts to flirt with Henry. But when Charlotte and Max re-enter the room, Henry mentions that he is picking up his daughter Debbie later on in the afternoon from the riding stables, as she enjoys riding horses on Barnes Common.
  Annie met Broadie on a train down to London; as they were both on there way to an anti-missile demonstration. Annie was making her way down to London from her cottage in Norfolk.
  A few weeks later, Annie returns back home after finishing 'Tis a Pity She's a Whore' in Glasgow, and Max finds out that she has been having an affair with Henry, so she decides to leave Max for Henry.
  Annie enters the lving room while Henry is working on his new play. She then begins to quietly learn her script for her upcoming production, but then Henry tells her not to learn the script. It turns out that Henry is struggling to to write Annie's play, as he doesn't know how to write about love. This then starts a conversation about how Max is really unhappy, and how thrilled and excited Annie is to be with Henry.

At the beginning of the second Act Henry is helping Annie to rehearse Broadie's play, which will be rehearsed in Glasgow after the first week. While Henry is helping Annie to rehearse the play he impersonates Broadie when he reads the bit were the characters first meet on a train. After helping Annie with the script Henry says that the script is "No good", and that Broadie "Can't write". Henry uses a cricket bat to describe the difference between good and bad writing. If a play is written well then it will travel far, and if a play is written badly then it will fall to the ground like a lump of wood. Henry compares Broadie's play to a lump of wood, as it is so poorly written.

Act One of 'The Real Thing' is very funny, fast paced and with added dramatic elements.

  The dramatic moments take place during Act One, Scene One between Max and Charlotte during Henry's new play 'House of Cards'. Also during the first Act we get too see the wit and humour between Annie and Henry, which I really enjoyed watching.
  My favourite scene is when Henry talks about how difficult he finds it to write about love because he is more used to writing comedy. Henry explains that when he tries to write about love it comes across as both embarrassing and childish.
  Act One ended beautifully, as it faded out with the Prelude to Bach's Cello Suite No.1, BWV 1007.

The second Act of 'The Real Thing' is darker than the first Act, but it still does have some comical moments.

  During Act Two is when Henry uses a cricket bat to describe the difference good writing and bad writing.
  There was also two scenes during the second act that I found difficult to watch. The first scene that was hard to watch was between Henry and Debbie, as it brought back loads of not-so-positive memories back; and the second one was when Henry found out about Billy.

I really enjoyed watching 'The Real Thing' at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and I had an amazing day out.

  I would highly recommend 'The Real Thing' for anyone who likes English Literature, love, comedy and a bit of Politics thrown in for good measure.

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