Thursday, 15 January 2009

HOT: Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, National Theatre, Southbank

I didn't actually get the title of Every Good Boy Deserves Favour until I realised that one of the characters (a schizophrenic who thought he had an orchestra in his head) talked only in musical terms - and of course 'Every Good Boy Deserves Favour' is a pneumonic for remembering the lines of the treble clef. I can't say that the somewhat dated plotline about a Soviet dissident imprisoned in a mental hospital, or any of the characters, really had me emotionally engaged. Nevertheless, this play gets a HOT because of two reasons. Firstly, I very much enjoyed Tom Stoppard's witty and twisting prose for the schizophrenic character, which often had me turning over a line in my head well after it'd been delivered. Secondly, the production was of a very high quality. I liked the integration of Andre Previn's music played by the full orchestra on stage, the physical dance sequence (although some of it was a bit literal 'here is the KGB beating people up') and the revolving floor of the set - a combination of stark hospital white tiles and the dim light of an orchestra pit.

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