Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Country Wife Review Roundup

Well, unfortunately this has been a long time in coming, but I've finally managed to get time to post some links to the reviews of "The Country Wife".

Toby plays Horner a "notorious womaniser" who feigns impotence as a way of getting close to the married ladies of his aquaintance and succeeds. The Country Wife of the title is one of the young ladies he seduces. The play looks wonderful, I like the mix of jeans and regency frock coats, and above all I rather like the devilish smile Toby is wearing in practically every still of the play!

The Telegraph liked it, praising the actors, Patricia Hodge and David Haig in particular and states that: "Shows don’t come much more disgracefully pleasurable than this".

The Times' reviewer seemed to get confused by the cow he had to pass to get into the auditorium and is a little tepid about the play, but again he praises the performances!

The Sunday Times reviewer enjoyed it more and describes Toby as appearing "with a snarling smile, a wolfish flash of teeth and an exaggeratedly thrusting gait that makes his crotch appear on stage several moments before the rest of him." Eh?! Wow, that must be one hell of a codpiece.
Hopefully, I'll add some more to this post later!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Country Wife

Ooh , I'm running short of time, so I'll tide you over with this picture of Toby surrounded by gorgeous women, until I get a summary of the reviews up (which are gratifyingly positive).

It's not wrong for my eyes to get drawn inexorably to that bunch of grapes, is it?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

A Little More Present Laughter

A few more Present Laughter links and then I promise I'll stop. Whatsonstage.com has a lovely little video (click on the picture) of the first night with interviews with all of the main performers. The set looks impressive, but as it is a rather peculiar green colour, it does look like Garry's flat is covered in mould. Weird.This is Pip Carter, who plays Raymond Maule, looking distinctly ungeeky.

Sarah Woodward looking glamourous, as all actors tend to, praising Noel Coward and Alex Jennings' performance as Garry. Sara Stewart looks very sparkly in her sequined frock, in contrast with Alex Jennings, whom I greatly admire, but whose outfit can be generously described as "lively". The shirt by itself, I can just about take, but where did that waistcoat come from? I hope he kept the receipt.

And finally here's a review of the play in Variety: "In a role he was born to play, Jennings makes ease look, well, easy. Despite peacocking about in a series of dressing gowns, Jennings never confuses charm and smarm; he sweeps about the stage like a cross between Rex Harrison and a well-bred wolf" and "Jennings' timing is so flawless he even finds space to stretch punctuation to delicious comic effect. Attempting to extricate himself from last night's love-struck ingenue, he trots out the line, "Don't love me too much, Daphne." But he halts momentarily on the comma to search for her name, indicating just how common an occurrence this is."

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Present Laughter

Lots of reviews of "Present Laughter" for you, which I'm going to see, so I'm enthusing beforehand. Unfortunately the reviews are uniformly tepid about the play, but uniformly complimentary about the performers, Sarah Woodward and Alex Jennings in particular.

I don't quite know how you can enjoy a performance and then not like the play, but what do I know, I'm not a theatre critic!

The Times, said it was funny, but not funny enough, the Evening Standard is similarly cool towards the play, but does include my favourite line about it so far: "Alex Jennings, who clearly adores flouncing around in one dressing gown and several piques".

The Guardian states that: "Alex Jennings offers a superbly executed re-interpretation." and is a "richly funny performance".

The Telegraph hated it apparently, calling it "Impossible to like or laugh at " and a "botched attempt at an overated play". Ouch! But heaps praise on Alex Jennings. It appears that the problems may be with Coward's play rather than the performers.

Whatsonstage.com call the play "oddly brusque and charmlessly monumental", which seems incredibly harsh! And includes my second favourite quote: "Gary should not resemble a tramp with a bad haircut and an ugly dressing gown worn over day clothes that might have come from an Oxfam shop".
On the other hand The Independent gives the most positive review: "a marvel of comic brio and farcical panache" and praises Alex Jennings, who "draws on similar talents and surpasses them. There's the electric wit and stage-filling charisma, as well as the boyishness that makes people want to mother and strangle him".

Better stop now, but I'll stick the weekend reviews on as well later.

Restoring His Humour

I found an interview with Toby in the Metro, but couldn't find it online, because for reasons known only to the lucky few, it was on the Evening Standard website instead?! Enjoy.