Bits and Pieces

Alan as Calogero

"Surging out of the chiaroscuro of griefs and hopes, Alan Howard presents the husband as a sad sleepwalker. This is a riveting performance and a breathtaking paradox: touching at the start but, as his paranoia deepens, winding up the master of all he surveys. A minor play, but a production that will glow in the memory for years to come."
Michael Church
The Independent on Sunday, 16.7.95

Prompt Corner

"Another special treat is the return to form of both Richard Eyre and the NT with de Filippo's La Grande Magia. I have no complaints at all (for once) at the extravagant use of sets, for Anthony Ward's superbly realised progression from light into darkness (with the usual nod to Mark "shafty" Henderson's so-evocative lighting) is just what the play needs - see Robert Hewison's review, especially, for a rare exploration of what good design can do for a piece which relies on its artificiality to produce some far from artificial truths. It's also a pleasure to see Alan Howard at last finding a role to which he can bring the full force of his skill at externalising inner torment - Calogero's journey from priggish self-satisfaction through doubt and near-madness to self-knowledge is one of the most exciting and moving experiences to be seen at present on the London stage. Several critics have remarked on the inappropriateness of David Ross's comic explosion into the second act, more Dario Fo than de Filippo, but I wouldn't have missed it for anything.
Prompt Corner
Theatre Record, Volume XV, Issue 14, 7.8.95

"Richard Eyre's witty and dazzling revival of Eduardo de Filippo's 1948 fantasy deploys every theatrical strategem in the book for an ambitious evening of surreal tragedy tinged by farce............

Most memorable of all, however, is Alan Howard's terrifying descent into pitiful madness as he fixes the audience with lugubrious treacle eyes and cradles a casket containing - so he believes - his wife as tenderly as if it were a baby."
Maureen Paton
Daily Express, 14.7.95


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