Wednesday, November 22, 2006

"Amy's View"

Mrs M was in town last night and we met up to see the delightful Felicity Kendall in David Hare’s “Amy View” at the Garrick Theatre. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from the play – but I certainly didn’t expect the theatre to be only two-thirds full just one week after the play opened. It must be so dispiriting for the actors to have to put on a stirling performance when they look out and see rows of empty seats. But, to their credit, they gave it their all – doubtless spurred on by the fact director Peter Hall was sitting perched in a first floor box, watching their every move.

The play is set in four different years, with the same small set of characters moving and progressing forward – with life and love threatening their happiness. Felicity plays successful stage actress Esme, and the play starts in 1979 when her daughter Amy (Jenna Russell) comes to visit with her wannabe media tycoon boyfriend Dominic, and this visit sparks off a chain of events that influence the play for later scenes set in 1985, 1993 and 1995.

Parenthood, the Lloyds financial crash and morals influence the later developments. But the whole thing is overshadowed by drawn out discussions between warring Esme and Dominic over the value of the theatre in contemporary society (which seemed ironic considering the half full house). Dominic, who becomes a successful media critic on TV, feels that theatre is dated and offers nothing to young people, who want to watch videos so they can fast-forward the boring bits. While Esme remains true to her art, despite having to later concede and take a job in a hospital TV drama where her co-stars are amateurs in paste bangles.

Felicity was marvellous as the fiesty, determined and strong Esme – a personality it is easy to see Barbara Good having turned in to. But quite why the seats were empty baffled Mrs M and me (although the price of the tickets might have had something to do with it – we rather wish we’d just turned up at the door and got the same tickets for £15 instead of £45. Ho hum).

No comments: