Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Woman Killed With Kindness @ National Theatre

I've always loved the bit in the computer game "The Sims" where you've finished tinkering with the zillions of different settings that actually probably don't make any difference to the health or happiness of your virtual family, and you hit the button to fast-forward them through their day - stopping when they start yelling at you in Simmish so you can sort out their problems or (more often) so you can look on helplessly while tragedy unfolds.

That's pretty much what they've done with the play "A Woman Killed With Kindness", currently on preview at the National Theatre. The stage is split in two - and two barely connected plays take place in each half. Sometimes one side will fast-forward : the actors moving slow or not at all while servants whizz around moving stuff. Sometimes they both fast-forward. And then eventually everyone is on the same side and doing the equivalent of yelling at The Player in Simmish.

The actual plays are guff of the worst order - leaden iambic nonsense - but the acting was of a high quality and the staging was tremendous, which just about made it worthwhile for me. If only that team and that cast had picked a play with some substance. Grr!

Or as they say in Simmish (while shaking their fists) : "No pala!!! Ooh kay kay keelah!!!"

1 comment:

Gilbert said...

I'd say your view was very charitable. Katie killed it, and not with kindness. Without the backup of the superb National Theatre resources and good actors who manage to convey something -- in spite of the ego of Ms Mitchell writ large over the entire production -- it is an annoying, dishonest (to the play), unclear, unfocused and angry-making evening. I think that about covers it....