Chekhov & Stoppard Bite Sized
This Rough Magic @ The Pillar Room (Freemasons)
10:30pm, Wed 8 Mar 2006
This Rough Magic supplied my Shakespearean requirements for the first few Big Fringes, and I returned to them to see these two short plays. The first, Chekhov’s A Marriage Proposal, was a cracking bit of work – short, snappy, slapstick (slappy?), with great comic performances by Peter Davies and Erica Richards. David Thring’s portrayal of Ivan Vassiliyich was a touch over the top, but still raised a chuckle when he collapsed in the audience. Hurrah!
Stoppard’s After Magritte, on the other hand, was pure corn. Pun-laden to the extreme, it reminded me of the parody of English TV on The Young Ones, “Oh Crikey”. Even the director’s notes refer to the piece as “dated”; whilst there is some glee to be had from this 70’s throwback, after a while the constant twisting and turning of the dialogue (as preceded by the aforementioned puns) gets tiring.
I’ll confess to not being intimate with either piece of work (or author) going into this performance – that didn’t stop me enjoying these two snippets, though. If only Stoppard had showed a little more restraint, this could have been a perfect pair.