Photo of the week: David Dawson as Gethin Price in Trevor Griffiths’ Comedians (with bonus David Tennant in the same role)

David Dawson as Gethin Price. Photo Helen Maybanks

David Dawson as Gethin Price. Photo Helen Maybanks

Tonight it’s the BBC4 broadcast of The Duchess of Malfi, as it was performed earlier in the year at the Sam Wanamaker playhouse – Shakespeare’s Globe. This is an important occasion, not least because there has been no Jacobean plays on tv since 1993 (more on the subject at John Wyver’s blog, and if you have the least bit of interest on how theatre translates into other media, you have to follow his writing).

I found the production itself bloodless – figuratively, the luminous beauty of the setting didn’t always translate to the fever of the story and text.  With one exception: David Dawson as Ferdinand, his soul twitching with forbidden desires while his face remained waxed in explosive immobility.

I first saw David Dawson in Trevor Griffiths’ Comedians at the Lyric Hammersmith in 2009. As Gethin Price, the uncompromising idealist of the group walking the line between  madness and genius, David Dawson’s impressive talents were in full display: a feverish performance that combined subtlety and extravagance, threat and charisma in equal measures. I clearly remember him in his big scene, full of drool and snot, both repulsive and attractive. Continue reading

Secret theatre: To Be or Not To Be (thoughts on the Lyric Hammersmith project – but no spoilers)

The company in rehearsal

The company in rehearsal

And so, somewhat unexpectedly, we have a debate in our hands. Last night the first play of Lyric Hammersmith’s Secret Theatre initiative started performances (it’s the first play to start performances but it’s Secret Show no 2, stay with me) and Mark Shenton took to twitter to reveal the title. A certain amount of outrage followed – with Jake Orr writing a blog and several tweets expressing displeasure (we have to accept a theatre outrage is a very contained affair. I live for the day when arguments about theatre will spill over to the streets).

There is no question, spoiling it for people who want to play the game makes you a party pooper, no matter how you look at it. But other questions also spring to mind. Continue reading