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Theatre review: Pains of Youth 
8th-Dec-2009 11:18 pm
tragicomedavatar
Shows directed by Katie Mitchell can go either way - her Women of Troy was fantastic, her ...some trace of her teeth-clenchingly bad. The newspaper reviews have said her version of Ferdinand Bruckner's Pains of Youth is a triumph, but I'd heard audience opinions that it was more of a yawn, and unfortunately I agreed with the latter. In Vienna between the Wars, a group of medical students are generally fed up, and get themselves sexually entangled with each other in various pairings. There's lots of angst but while there's nothing wrong with the performances as such, the production is lifeless, not helped by the low lighting throughout. Things get a bit better when Geoffrey Streatfeild as a sometimes violent charmer is on stage, but as he's the only charismatic character any time he's gone is a time when I got dangerously close to nodding off. And it really doesn't help that Mitchell has lumbered the production with a gimmick for scene changes which starts mildly interesting, becomes tedious, and ends up being an actual hindrance to the performance's already muted energy levels.

Pains of Youth by Ferdinand Bruckner in a version by Martin Crimp is booking until the 21st of January at the National Theatre's Cottesloe.
Comments 
(Deleted comment)
9th-Dec-2009 08:58 am (UTC)
The actors in the scene freeze, the remaining actors come on and bring the props on wrapped in plastic, unwrap them, wrap the old props in plastic before taking them off, set up things in the scene like starting the gramophone or lighting the characters' cigarettes... It's OK when there's only one or two little props to move but when they're wrapping tables and chairs it takes ages...
9th-Dec-2009 03:21 pm (UTC)
Were you there on Dec 8th? If only I had known we could have shared some cake. Agree it was very angsty and Teutonic. A bit more naked male flesh would definitely have helped. I also thought Leo Bill was good, and it was a pity the character vanished. A for the scene changes................Did you see Tamsin Greig was in the audience?
9th-Dec-2009 04:20 pm (UTC) - Losing it
I was there on Dec 7 ! Lost track of the date again
9th-Dec-2009 11:07 pm (UTC) - Re: Losing it
Heh, well that explains it, I was indeed there on the 8th so no wonder - surely I'd have spotted Tamsin Greig. We had Shirley Porter in the audience on my night, which isn't quite as exciting.
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