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Posts tagged ‘Royal Court Theatre’

15
Mar

London Theatre Review: The Heretic

Richard Bean’s ‘The Heretic’ showed great promise in the pre-opening hype, just like so many plays these days of which a great number disappoint.  I’m happy to say that this play lived up to the hype;  well, almost.  The first three acts were superbly crafted, funny, and rang so very true.

Diane - The HereticThe heretic is Diane played by Juliet Stevenson, an academic who does not agree to be swallowed up in the maelstrom of global warming enthusiasts. Instead she sticks to the rigour of her scientific findings in her limited field where she can find no evidence of rising sea levels.  There are many highlights, and so many memorable quips, but the prize must go to a filmed interview with her, and Maldives politician and Jeremy Paxman for Newsnight.  Or perhaps to the scene which involves her choice of union representative, a toy polar bear.

The HereticThe last two acts flag a little and get a bit silly.  But only a bit.  I criticize really in the context of the brilliance of the first three.

The play is shortly ending its run at the Royal Court.  But there is perhaps hope that like that theatre’s last runaway success, Clybourne Park, it may transfer to the West End.

The Heretic website

Jeannette is a bit of a culture vulture who enjoys art exhibitions, cinema and classical music, but her main interest is the theatre. For several years she ran theatre discussion groups for which her MA in Modern Drama together with teaching skills stood her in good stead. She prefers to concentrate on the many off West End and fringe productions as well as that real treasure of the London theatre scene, the National.

9
Jan

New Richard Bean play

The Heretic logo

The Heretic logo

A new Richard Bean play will shortly be opening at the Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square.  The Heretic is an interesting take on the climate change debate.

The last Richard Bean production I watched certainly courted controversy. England People Very Nice was a rumbustious romp with a cast of hundreds of all colours, shapes and sizes Bean traces the lives of waves of immigrants to London’s Bethnal Green, from the Huguenots, the Irish, the Jews to the Bangladeshis.

Newspaper critics were utterly divided on the play’s merit.  The Guardian and the Indie were less than impressed, calling it stereotypical and racist, amongst other comments.  Charles Spencer in the Telegraph loved it, and the Jewish Chronicle thought the idea of eating bacon sandwiches outside a synagogue on the day of Atonement hilarious!
It is a satire (a comment on TV called it the satire of Alf Garnett, and indeed one of the characters sports a West Ham scarf) and is cleverly helped along by using the play within a play device – the actors playing the actors are in a detention centre, waiting to hear if they have been granted permission to become British immigrants themselves.
What did I think?  I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Jeannette Nelson, Arts Critic
Jeannette is a bit of a culture vulture who enjoys art exhibitions, cinema and classical music, but her main interest is the theatre. For several years she ran theatre discussion groups for which her MA in Modern Drama together with teaching skills stood her in good stead. She prefers to concentrate on the many off West End and fringe productions as well as that real treasure of the London theatre scene, the National.

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