Monthly Archives: October 2018

Quick, duck!

I have to say, it’s been a bt of a ho hum year for theatre, until the last few weeks. The revival of Cock at Chichester, the new Florian Zeller play The Height of The Storm and the new play at the Almeida, always a favourite and back to its very best (for reasons I hesitate to speculate on).

The is Robert Icke reworking of Ibsen’s The Wild Duck.

First of all, let’s say that there have been some stupendous reviews, and one lukewarm one from the Guardian, and there still are odd tickets to be had. And it will probably transfer, just as Summer and Smoke and Twilight Zone are.

I’m not going to go over the story. If you are Ibsen purist, you will hate the way it is presented. The actors share a hand mic and tell their secret thoughts and also talk about the background to the play. It’s cut, apparently, but still runs approaching three hours with a short break. And it’s captivating and engrossing stuff.

The stage is fairly minimal, just the usual back wall and a few props. The acting is uniformly excellent. There are some truly chilling moments and great pieces of theatre craft.

No spoilers here, but there was a standing ovation.

DO NOT MISS.

Dr Who III

The first episode of the new rebooted Dr Who was character and scene setting, and was pretty poor. The second I simply did not have any interest in.

The third took it into the Quantum Leap/Timeless territory (but I am sure other programmes have done the same idea, like Time Tunnel). Our heroes go back in time to some significant event which they either witness, participate in or find themselves having to alter history so that the event itself can go ahead in the way we all remember it, or how history describes it.

I remember Time Tunnel very well. It looks corny and cheap now, and did at the time. Quantum Leap was better. Timeless is quite recent. There was some sub-plot about world domination or secret cults or whatever, and it got so complicated it was hard to follow and fizzled out.

This Dr Who episode went back to the story of Rosa Parks. It’s caused a lot of discussion here in the UK with people claiming they had never heard of her or her story. Well, like most countries I suppose, we have more interest in our ‘local’ history than other countries.

If you don’t know about Mrs Parks and segregation, look here.

Mrs Parks was a key person in the fight for equality between black and whites in the USA. For some reason I didn’t get, possibly just blatant racism, someone from the future has come back in time to prevent her protest happening, To, presumably, ensure white supremacy for all time. It’s up to the doctor to stop him. Why they are actually there at that time I missed. Does the TARDIS have a social conscience?

Two of her companions are non-white, but one is taken as Mexican. The other is treated as the laws demanded.

The episode consisted of long speeches about how whites and blacks should not be segregated. When her black assistant chap had to sit at the back of the bus, it was said many times ‘you shouldn’t have to do that’, so many times I lost count. Every so often, a chunk of religion (it is on Sunday nights now, in the old God slot) or a famous name was thrown in. Fifty minutes of being pummeled over the head with this stuff just made me cross.

As was mentioned in the programme, this kind of segregation was something that didn’t happen in the UK. The dreadfully poor acting and clunky script made the watching hard work (and it’s a kid’s programme, in theory at least).

I found myself thinking alright already, I know, I get it, it’s wrong, anyone with half a brain cell can see that, stop preaching to me. Tell me something new, or at least entertain me.

So, that’s me done with Dr Who.

Dr Who II

The current doctor, sorry Doctor, is played by a woman. She, the actress, is someone who has appeared in other series by the new Dr Who big boss, but I have seen none of those either. I just want you to understand that I come to this will no preconceptions, no baggage and really no expectations.

The doc now has three companions.

Two are young, male and female, different ethnic origins. He looks like he could be, or at least could have been, a bad lad, had it not been for his (now dead) grandmother who kept him on a reasonably straight path. The lady is a policeman/woman/person, so a representation of the state, order. Though how a policeperson can have such pierced ears is beyond me.

Third is the lad’s white, grey haired old grandfather, played by an actor better known as host of a game show on daytime tv, though he has acted in the UK version of Law and Order. He’s the wise old chap who brings experience and tolerance.

Then the doctor. She was a man and is now a woman, so transgender, I suppose. She looks rather dumb blondish, ought to be a bit tomboyish given her dress but isn’t, is rather geewhiz it’s fun to be a girl, but with little enthusiasm, more “I’ll get used to this, I suppose” in attitude. I have read, on the Web, and we always believe what we find there, that she is going to turn out to be lesbian.

I suppose they are finding their feet about their personalities.

It ticks all the boxes, this little group of people, so calculatedly as to be almost laughable at its obviousness at including all sorts of minorities groups.

I know some people who have watched Dr Who since the very early days, and can tell you every story, baddie and flaw, but who now say they have stopped watching because the doctor can only be a man, preferably David Tennant.

One of the big changes is no more Daleks or Cybermen. I guess people are pretty upset about this, but constantly relying on the same old villains seems rather lazy to me.

So, hopefully, it’s all new, and will attract a fresh audience, even if it is on Sunday evenings in the God spot.