A couple of weeks ago when I was at Wilton's Music Hall to see Mixed Up North
(there was cake, there was Celia Imrie, there was Celia Imrie giving me cake, don't pretend you've forgotten and don't pretend you're not still jealous) I happened to pick up a flier for a promenade production of David Mamet's Edmond
, running there for only six performances over three nights (tonight being the last.) I asked my friend Andy if he'd like to come along, and after we'd booked it turned out his friend Ian had also booked the same performance, so there were three of us there. Although during the performance we may as well have been on our own 'cause everyone just hustled for a good place to stand every time the action moved, so it's not like we stayed together during the show itself.
Elliott Cowan, the Lost In Austen
and Streetcar Named Desire
actor whose uncanny resemblance to Heath Ledger we're not supposed to mention for some reason, plays the title role and also makes a confident debut as director. I wasn't familiar with this particular Mamet play, in which a seemingly average American goes on an increasingly seedy odyssey through New York, revealing nastier elements of bigotry the more he goes on (which makes the story's ending satisfyingly ironic.) But it makes for an interesting evening, and the play's episodic format means it particularly suits promenade. It's a bit frustrating at first as getting 50-odd people through narrow doors and corridors means the scene changes take longer than the scenes, but it's a lot better once we're settled into the main hall itself where it's easier to move to a good position. Cowan is well supported by eight other actors who each play several small roles Edmond encounters on his journey, and there's excellent live music provided by bluegrass trio The Bonfire Band, who also prove very good at silently getting from one scene to the next, especially considering they're also lugging instruments. The production also fulfills its promise to show corners of Wilton's the public don't normally see, which is great as I've mentioned before how much I love the building. It was both Andy and Ian's first trip there and they were both impressed with the building and the play as well.
One rather surreal moment for me: The actor Cillian Murphy was in the audience, and as the audience kept moving around I sometimes found myself standing next to him watching a scene. Including one that took place in a room too small to fit everyone, so the action was shown to the audience on TV screens, and Cowan's resemblance to a certain dead actor was especially strong. So I had this really weird moment where I realised I was watching an actor who looked a lot like a Batman villain, while standing next to someone who actually was
a Batman villain. All part of the magic of Dame Theatre, eh?Edmond
by David Mamet ended tonight at Wilton's Music Hall.