Sunday, 26 July 2009
A family affair
As I'm sure you know, I quite like going to the theatre, and in this, the 70th year since the Oxford Playhouse was conceived, I've been attending rather more plays than usual in my home theatre.
Tonight, there was a benefit for the Playhouse campaign, in which Prunella Scales, Timothy West and Sam West, entertained a packed house, with a number of pieces, all under the theme of 'Family'.
Kicking off with the infamous 'Handbag' scene from 'The Importance of being Earnest' (in which Prunella gave a rather quiet and exhausted delivery of that line), the trio rattled their way through 'Brideshead Revisited', 'Hamlet', 'It's all right if I do it' (with a wonderfully giggly reading from Prunella, and a completely baffled reaction from Timothy) 'The Birthday Party', 'When We Were Married', 'A Number' (Here, Sam West struggled to come to terms with the fact that there are clones of him, and he isn't necessarily the original from whence they sprang), 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?', 'Family Voices' (This a Harold Pinter radio play of 25 minutes, which tells a tale through letters of a family keeping in touch, yet at the same so far apart as to have lost all contact. A wonderful piece), 'Father William' and finally 'Cocoa'.
I really do love ensemble pieces like this - especially when the actors in question know each other so well. Lovely to see Sam West laughing his head off at some of his parent's deliveries, as did Timothy at one point. In directing his mother to a chair for the 'Family Voices' piece, Prunella went one too far and was instantly recalled by Sam. 'I don't know why it matters', he mused, 'it's a radio play, there's not much action.'
*I've changed the picture - many thanks to Jellybean for providing me with the link!!!