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Because what the Net really needs is another person sharing his uninformed views
Theatre review: God of Carnage 
4th-Apr-2008 01:31 pm
tragicomedavatar
Yasmina Reza's play Art was a huge West End hit in the '90s and the latest attempt to repeat the success is another story of respectable, middle class French people going off the deep end over a relatively trivial matter. In God of Carnage Alain (Ralph Fiennes) and Annette's (Tamsin Greig) 12-year-old son has hit Michel (Ken Stott) and Veronique's (Janet McTeer) son in the face with a stick, costing him a couple of teeth. The parents are meeting to discuss this and try to put the event behind them. They are unfailingly polite, until it becomes apparent they'll never agree either on the children's behaviour or on other issues, such as lawyer Alain's attempts to help a pharmaceutical company that knowingly distributed a drug with dangerous side-effects, or Veronique's project about Darfur. The evening gradually builds into increasing hysteria after Annette accidentally vomits on Annette's favourite book.

Matthew Warchus' production is very funny although the tone does vary - Reza famously doesn't consider her plays to be comedies but tragedies, and some of the bleaker moments are a weird contradiction to the funny stuff. But overall it works - as the star name Fiennes seemed to be getting a lot of indulgent laughs from the audience to start with, and he does have an ability to do dry comedy, but soon Stott and Greig were the ones who stood out. One thing I enjoyed was the way allegiances changed seamlessly - at some point or other every combination of characters paired up together against the other two, and it came across as both funny and realistic, with them basically taking support where they could find it. Mark Thompson's design is striking as the entire set is painted blood-red except for the furniture, so as soon as the curtain goes up you know you're in for an evening that goes for the extremes. I don't think it'll run as long as Art but it's a worthwhile follow-up to that play. I went with vanessaw and she absolutely loved it.

God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton, is booking until the 14th of June at the Gielgud Theatre.
Comments 
4th-Apr-2008 01:39 pm (UTC)
My first trip to London coincided with "Art," which would have made it 1997. I remember seeing posters and adverts for it everywhere. I lived in London for six months but I was so broke that I never saw a single play.
4th-Apr-2008 07:15 pm (UTC)
That sucks - of course I'm broke because I go so often, but I think I'm a bit addicted: I can't believe how many years I lived in London and barely went to the theatre at all, when there's so much out there to see.
4th-Apr-2008 06:31 pm (UTC)
I had so hoped I'd get to see this with you, or at least be there to see it before it ends, but clearly that isn't going to happen now. Thanks for at least watching it for me! I must say, it sounds an awful lot like real life.

And of course you know the Gielgud holds a special place in my heart ...
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