Wednesday, 29 October 2008
NOT: The Walworth Farce, National Theatre, Southbank
I often don't remember or have time to read up on the plot of a play before I attend the production. Sometimes this turns up unexpected pleasures (Waves, Brief Encounter, Black Watch), sometimes I regret the time, money and concentration expended (De Profundis, That Face). Despite sell-out shows and a revival due to popular demand, The Walworth Farce goes in the second bucket for me. It was an intensely stressful two hours, punctuated by loopy spitfire dialogue, screaming, head-wrenching and violence with only a few moments of lightness to relieve it (and the jokes weren't even that funny). All the characters were unsympathetic, hateful and frustrating, except for Hayley, the smiling Tesco girl, who only arrived in the second half. I observed that some of the audience left at interval, so evidently I'm not alone in my views.