With Jack Absolute flies againThe National Theater is attempting to repeat the success it had with Richard Beans One man, two Guvnors. After I rewrote Goldonis The servant of two mastersBean is now rewriting Sheridans with Oliver Chris Richard Brinsley The rivals.
Do we really need a new version of The rivals? Surely the National Theater of all theaters should be performing Sheridan’s original play?
The comedy was last screened at The National almost forty years ago in 1983 in a Peter Wood production with a brilliant performance by Michael Hordern.
Bean and Chris take the 18th-century comedy, which premiered in 1774, and act it out during World War II (1940). Production was originally supposed to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain but Covid put a stop to that.
The script, full of childish one-liners, double entenders, obscenities and sloppiness, is better than the plot.
Jack Absolute (Laurie Davidson) is now a pilot with the RAF and his life expectancy is down to four weeks. He is in love with Lydia Languish (Natalie Simpson), who is no longer Sheridan’s silly girl who wants to be treated like a heroine in a romance novel, but a feminist in the ATA. Lucy (Kerry Howard), her maid, seems to play the better part now because Lucy is allowed to interact directly with the audience most of the time.
Peter Forbes as Jack Absolute’s ill-tempered and irrepressible father and Caroline Quentin as Mrs. Malaprop (“Queen of the Dictionary”) are Sheridan’s most well-known characters. Quentin has received a lot of new untruths.
Jordan Metcalf is physically very funny as the jealous Faulkland, a very edgy and sexually inexperienced lover. Bob Acres (James Corrigan), the Irish dolt, has been turned into an Aussie.
Emily Burns’ production twice uses CCG footage of dog fights and also has the entire cast shaking. The biggest surprise is the serious change of tone in the coda, which, while perfectly appropriate to the war context, is far too serious a climax for all the farce that has gone before; and it bangs.
Jack Absolute flies again will be released in theaters around the world on Thursday, October 5, 2022.
Robert Tanitch reviews Jack Absolute Flys Again at the National Theatre/Olivier Theatre
Source link Robert Tanitch reviews Jack Absolute Flys Again at the National Theatre/Olivier Theatre