Archiv der Kategorie: Apollo Theatre London

Waiting for the Click

Tennessee Williams: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Apollo Theatre / Young Vic, London (Director: Benedict Andrews)

By Sascha Krieger

Of course, it’s hard not to think of Trump Tower. Instead of a 1950s Mississippi plantation mansion, Benedict Andrews‘ take on Tennessee Williams‘ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is located in front of a massive gilded wall, courtesy of Swiss set designer Magda Willi. This is a golden cage Williams‘ characters are caught in and it’s one clearly place in the here and now (as proven by the frequent use of mobile phones). A neon rectangle frames the stage which in itself is a rectangular island in a sea of shiny nothingness. All is polished, all is a lie. The setting – only a (black!) bed, a shower and a cosmetics table plus a few bottles of whiskey and a bag of ice are left as remnants of the real world – feels like a mixture of Beckettian emptiness and the all-surface world of reality TV. Where in Beckett everything beyond the stage is nothingness, here it’s the horror of the greed-ridden, image-based reality of today’s late-stage capitalism inhabited by cloned child monsters half Chucky half beauty pageant. And by adults that seem more like mechanical puppets, robots of the eternal hamster wheel of success.

The Apollo Theatre (Image: Sascha Krieger)

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The Story of It All

Tom Stoppard: Travesties, Menier Chocolate Factory / Apollo Theatre, London (Director: Patrick Marber)

By Sascha Krieger

1920s music is playing, the battered red curtain evokes the heyday of comic theatre and the music hall. An old man in a worn out bathrobe and a tattered straw hat shuffles on stage. He tries to raise the curtain, taps on it, smiles uneasily. First, nothing happens, then, slowly, the curtain goes up, an cluttered old library in revealed, books everywhere, pages on the floor, a labyrinth of remembered – and forgotten – knowledge. In Tom Stoppard’s early play Travesties, Henry Carr, an employee at the British Consulate in Zurich in 1917, remembers the days when the swiss city was a centre of revolution: Lenin in exile, James Joyce re-inventing the novel, Dada questioning the very nature of art. And Carr at the centre of it all, spying on Lenin, becoming friends with Dada hero Tristan Tzara, playing in a theatre production put on by Joyce. At least this is how he remembers it. It will be only at the very end, that the audience will know how unreliable Carr as a narrator is. He re-invents himself in the process, tells of meetings that never could have happened and mixes up life and art by transforming his story, or rather stories, into a version of Oscar Wilde’s The importance of Being Earnest, the very play he acted in in Zurich.

The Apollo Theatre (Image: Sascha Krieger)

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