Thursday, 7 October 2010

The Habit of Art (NT Tour- The Lowry)

Went to see Alan Bennett's play within a play, the one about W.H. Auden and Benjamin Britten having an imaginary conversation about Death in Venice. It was good, the first act I think was better, funnier, but then the second act was more focused on the fictional conversation whereas the first was more about the theatre- more of the play within a play.
The actors were all fantastic, not the original cast of course but with the National Theatre that doesn't matter, their touring casts are always just as good and I loved Desmond Barrit and Malcolm Sinclair, they were brill.
But I felt Bennett didn't have much to say with this play, it was self-indulgent of course, the History Boys was self-indulgent but fantastically focused. I can see why the National commissioned it though, it was very indulgent for them too! I really think they could have done a bit of rewriting for the tour, they kept referring to the theatre they were playing in as the National and there were a few bits at the end that of course didn't work in Manchester and NEVER could. A small point but one that bothered me nonetheless.
And I could have done with more of Britten's music, not just played it as the actors took their bows, there was poetry throughout, where was the music?


  1. Yes, plays aren't like movies in that they have to adapt to their location. Sometimes a cultural flaw can make or break a potentially great play.