Skip to main content

A second reviewing of The Hook by Arthur Miller at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

An unexpected availability last night left me back at the Royal & Derngate for not only a second helping of The Hook but also its post show talk. I confess I love a post show talk, even if I haven't yet been brave enough to ask a question at one. Other people always seem to have more interesting questions and I also tend to take a sleep on it to think of relevant ones in any case.

In hindsight however, I should have asked about thoughts on development between the previews and the end product that I saw on my second viewing. Having seen the final preview exactly a week before, it was quite amazing to see the alterations to the show I had seen then, both subtle and in one case quite a revelation.

Although I didn't dwell on the negatives in my review at the time (I leave the criticism to them "professional" critics), also it being a preview it was wrong to do so. I was amazed to see how pretty much all of them I had spotted had been addressed. It's true to say that most were tech moments of issue. The second viewing saw no alarmingly writhing safe as it tried its best not to go back down the trap. There was also no moment where the stage crew were starkly visible removing that step ladder. It was indeed a triumph of building a perfect form on the back of the previews and for the first time it made it quite clear to me as just a paying punter how important they are to the director and his team.

There were other little moments that I saw as well, for me I felt that Joe Alessi as Louis had suitably toned down the ballot antics a notch, making it less comical and therefore that bit more powerful. Also unless my memory is completely failing me, I was sure there was a scene missing involving Jamie Sives (Marty) and Sean Aydon (with the baseball).

The big revelation though was the ending. The final scene which I had felt at the time was a tad on the clumsy side, with it leaving an awkward few moments of darkness as the cast assembled to take their bow, had been cut altogether. It did perhaps leave it finishing spectacularly suddenly (although the original was still quite sudden), but it was however a much smoother and professional presentation. An excellent evolution from preview to main performances.

The Q&A was once again excellently informative as director James Dacre and a selection of the cast (including the wonderfully Scottish and quite fidgety Jamie Sives) offered their thoughts on a number of very good questions from the audience. There was "How do you remember your lines?" question as someone who will remain nameless was happy about. There were however a number that offered interesting insights into the development of the piece. We learnt that in all of Miller's papers on the piece the screenplay ended with the same ballot results of the actual story. We also learnt that there were many different endings offered, and that the team took the deliberate decision to use the ambiguous version. This was deliberately to engender post show discussion. It did this, as myself and a few others in the crowd had already discussed the rather unclear ending before the Q&A. I think we all had different hopes for what lay ahead for Marty and that is a credit to Miller's piece and James Dacre's production that it truly stimulated this.


My original review of The Hook can be found here: The Hook Review

Performance reviewed: Monday 15th June, 2015 at the Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton.

The Hook runs at the Royal & Derngate until Saturday 27th June, 2015 before touring.

For further details visit the Royal & Derngate website at http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/

Comments

  1. Very interesting that they made the deliberate point of keeping the ending ambiguous - as I felt it was an optimistic ending but my good lady wife thought it was pessimistic. Clever lot, these theatre people!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes they are there to make us think. I saw from your review that you were a split camp, so it very much created talk over the ending.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Review of Rules For Living at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

It is possibly a rule in life for a few in the audience for the opening night of Sam Holcroft's domestic comedy Rules For Living not to mention Christmas until December. Therefore anyone of such a persuasion might have been a little perturbed to be presented on the 13th September with, an undeniably brilliantly dressed, homely Christmas scene.

Opening up in glorious dollhouse style and on a gorgeous little hinge, this little home of living room and kitchen sets the scene for a typical family Christmas. Mother Edith (Jane Booker) welcomes her sons, Matthew (Jolyon Coy) and Adam (Ed Hughes) and their respective partners, Carrie (Carlyss Peer) and Nicole (Laura Rogers) And with a final dramatic arrival of father Francis (Paul Shelley), the scene is very much set for comic antics of the highest calibre.

The first thing you get from Rules For Living in the first few minutes is the arrival of one of the most brilliant, yet simple concepts I have seen for a while in the play. These are …

Review of Make Way For Lucia by John Van Druten at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

There have been a couple of television versions of the Mapp & Lucia novels by E. F. Benson over the years and irrespective of which generation version you might have seen, the roles of Miss Mapp and Mrs. Lucas were filled with some heavyweight performers. So taking on these roles could, in theory, be a challenge too much to live up to. However, that would be if the characters themselves were less the sum of the performer. These are great characters on paper as well as on stage and therefore Gena McCrystal (Miss Mapp) and Juliet O'Connor (Lucia) make them very much their own in the stage adaption by John Van Druten.

Lucia has arrived and breezed both into the town of Tilling and the musical chair roundabout of house rental that is want to occur here. Her rented property is Miss Mapp's and for some reason, Mapp fails to follow the routine of keeping away, constantly "popping in", so the battle lines are drawn.
Make Way for Lucia is the typical battle of supremacy i…

Review of Once Upon A Grimm Tale by The Royal & Derngate Actors Company (Early) at Judge's Lodgings, Northampton

Once upon a time, there was a brave theatrical reviewer. He lived in a market town in deepest darkest Englaland, where many great and remarkable things of stage did occur. At the centre of this wondrous world of performing spectacles was a place referred to by many as the Royal Derngatus, a place of people pretending to be other people and telling tales of mystery, intrigue and frolics.

Within the fortressed walls of Royal Derngatus, there were a group of fearless players who entertained local folk for no reward, other than the thrill of seeing the joy in the faces of others. Those group of artists went by the name of Actors Companus, which many pronounced carefully when they did say it out loud. This group of merry men and women did have two forms, an early and a late, and but two days before this adventurous evening of forthcoming storytelling, the late group did perform for a third and final time a most amazing feat of theatre, going by the name of Great Expectations.


Our hero of thi…