Sunday, 27 November 2011

Jumpy at the Royal Court

I knew it was coming so there were no excuses for the fact that this was sold out completely by the time I got around to checking for tickets. The only option was the Monday ticket scrum, where a chunk of the tickets are sold for a song, or more accurately, a tenner. I sat poised at my computer at 9am, frantically clicked the links and after half a dozen failed attempts as someone else got there before me, I ended up with back row balcony tickets. I then had to wait for 20 minutes for the payment system to catch up, but I returned from my internet hunt proudly brandishing my booking reference number. The thrill of the chase without getting cold or wet.

The actual play is a romp through a female mid-life crisis, painfully funny, but with real emotional truth, played expertly by the amazing Tamsin Greig as Hilary. She seems to have funny bones, being able to naturally balance pure, laugh out loud comedy with sensitivity, so that by the end, I really cared about what happened next. Doon Mackichan's comic clowning was a triumph, although, as she showed us tiny hints of something deeper, it made me feel that I would like to see what she could do with something more serious.

Bel Powley, as the teenage daughter Tilly, had the attitude just right and some very sharp lines*, but was a bit one-dimensional, irritatingly shouty all the time. Although, for getting under the skin of what it feels like to be the parent of a bolshy teenager, that may have been the point.

As a study of middle-aged marriage, it felt spot on too, so a bit of a masterclass from April De Angelis in how to do falling-down-funny but meaningful theatre.

Tamsin Greig was undoubtedly the star of the piece, and deservedly so. A dame-in-waiting?

*'What did you wear?' ...(pause for look of dawning horror)....'You didn't wear your jeans?'

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