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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Richard Dreyfuss

I went to see Richard Dreyfuss in COMPLICIT at The Old Vic last week. It was their third preview and a fascinating evening of theatre: RD is not yet on top of lines - he has a lot! But it was the sort of performance you don't see on the English stage very often - completely inhabited, utterly open/vulnerable and sincerely felt. Certainly one of the best performances I've ever seen.

I was front row of the stalls and now that the theatre has been configured in the round, you're three feet away from the actors. I could have watched another four hours of his performance. It was a priceless opporunity to witness such a watchable actor at work. I almost wonder if it will be as interesting when he is fully on top of the play, because part of the joy was seeing him work through the role, right in front of you. (I had the same experience when Albert Finney, Tom Courtney and Ken Stott first previewed ART - it was electric (particularly when Stott forgot half of the famous speech!) - and when I saw the show again three months later it had lost much the neurosis of the characters and become a comfortable comedy).

David Suchet is also excellent in COMPLICIT and in complete command of his performance. I just wish the play had been better, given that it's more of an intellectual debate than a drama, albeit about an important subject.

I walked out of the theatre as high as a kite - a genuine dramatic thrill of the first order.


At 5:33 PM, Blogger Christopher Barlow said...

its interesting i saw one the preview performances (thursday) i was quite far back from the stage. i really didn't like the play. but i thought the desing etc was all really really good.

However i wasn't massively keen on dreyfuss. from where i was i didn't really twig that he was unsteady on his lines. i just thought his performance was a little lacking. well i thought that the minute david suche stepped on stage who i thought was magnifiscent and put dreyfuss in the shade. however i liked dreyfuss very much on the filmed bits.

they also cut the drowning tourture just before the play went up. i wish it still been in there.


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