Today I took a trip to the theatre. Many of you who know me personally will know that I go to the theatre rather a lot, though most of the time it’s to see musicals. This time, I thought it would make a change to see a play. Now don’t get me wrong, I have seen a lot of West End plays, but I recently realised that all my decisions regarding which play I see have been solely dependent on casting. I went to see Photograph 51 because Nicole Kidman was in it. I went to see The Maids because Uzo Aduba was in it. I went to see Dead Funny because Katherine Parkinson was in it. The list goes on and on. It’s not to say that these weren’t all fantastic plays, but I didn’t choose to see them because I thought I’d enjoy the narrative. That’s why this trip was different.
Here is a description of The Children from The Royal Court website:
THAT is the reason I booked to see it. It was so shrouded in mystery that I couldn’t help but be completely intrigued by what else the story might entail. The thing I never could have predicted was me leaving the play truly believing that it was the best piece of theatre I’d ever witnessed.
Very wrongly, I went into the theatre feeling rather pessimistic about what the next 1 hour and 50 minutes was going to consist of. It had been a while since I’d booked it on a curious whim and the excitement had drifted away. Less than 5 seconds after the curtain had come up that excitement was once again instilled in me. The story itself was a perfect mix of every emotion you could possibly hope for. The thing in particular that surprised me was how many utterly hilarious lines there were, wonderfully delivered by the comedic genius that is Deborah Findlay. As far as performances are concerned, I’ve been trying to find the words to describe how utterly perfect Francesca Annis was, but I’m yet to come up with anything that would do her performance justice. Let’s just say I’m now very aware that I need to spend a solid week or so catching up on everything she’s starred in up to this point, because she’s an astonishing actress with one of the most beautifully expressive faces I’ve ever seen. Joining Findlay and Annis, and completing the cast was Ron Cook, who I was vaguely familiar with due to his work on Mr Selfridge. It was great to see him excel in playing such a different role. All three came together to create the perfect trio, with every inch of me believing that they were a group of old friends.
Another surprise was just how captivating the set was. From looking at production photos prior to my visit, I felt that the set left a lot to be desired, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Sitting in the third row I was constantly noticing so many brilliantly detailed elements that came together to offer an extremely realistic kitchen. The transfer of light, from the sun setting through the window to the darkness saved only by candles, perfectly illustrated the passing in time. The echoing footsteps and rattling walls as someone would exit the room and walk up the stairs reminded me of my own house. In every way, I truly believed that we had stepped into their home.
There is so much more I could say, but I will refrain from doing so in the belief that this production truly is best when approached with no expectation of what’s to come. All I can do is urge anyone who has the chance to go and see it to do so! It is both brilliantly written and performed. In addition to that, if you’re under 26, any ticket for any play at The Royal Court costs just £12, so you really have nothing to lose! You have until Saturday 14th January 2017, don’t miss out!
(All production photos taken from The Royal Court website, https://royalcourttheatre.com/)