Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Monday 11 February 2013

A Private View: Dissecting The Disquiet Of The Dissidents @ Nightingale Theatre Brighton

If you have ever wondered what the work of playwright turned national Czech leader Vaclav Havel was like, then the production of A Private View, directed by Sylvia Vickers, at the (wonderful) Nightingale Theatre (8th-10th February 2012) was the place to be.



The play itself is both very, very funny and incredibly timeless, an amazing critique of materialism and the shallow 'Mrs Dalloway"'world of the new Bourgeoisie. 

It is a critique as relevant in our time and country as in Havel's.

Recently, at my son's school, I had arrived a little early to collect him and so sat listening to two other 'early' parents having a long and varied conversation about sun dried tomatoes. 

"OHH!" said one. "Were they YOUR tomatoes we had with our lunch the other day, they were JUST like the real thing!"
 
"OH YESSS!" said the other. "I learnt how to do them in Sicily, JUST LIKE the Sicilians do, but I put MINE in the oven, out there they dry them in the sun you know, we stay at our friends cottage it"s wonderful, there is no heating and it"s so very run down we love it !!!" 

I wonder if the Sicilian peasants have such a romantic view of poverty?

Michael (Casper Jones) and Vera (Dani Carbery) are a couple obsessed with their flat, their possessions, their cooking, the quality of their whisky, America, and their friends" lives. They are sort of 'Hello' magazine reincarnated as human beings. 


They bombard their visitor Ferdinand (Karl Kennedy-Williams) with this shallow pointless chatter as soon as he arrives, asking him how much he likes various objects and then self-congratulating themselves on the quality of their own décor.  

He is the kind of guy who buys art to fit his ideal alcove, rather than making an alcove to fit his art. 

Tellingly, Ferdinand is a writer turned brewery worker, while Michael works in an office. 

The couple are shocked at Ferdinand's choice of work, asking him question after question that he rarely gets a chance to answer without being forced to eat something or have another drink before he can speak. 

They do not understand the importance of honest toil; they are lost souls adrift in plenty.

In the play Havel makes a strong use of repetition to emphasise the ever-decreasing circles of the trivial life. 

This is picked up well in the direction of the play with the actors taking up the same pose for each level of repletion reinforcing the mildly insane undertones of the couple"s new life. 

At one point Michael exposes his wife to Ferdinand to show him how sexy she is, at this point it becomes obvious that she is nothing more than an object in his collection. He looks after her well, but then he looks after all his objects well too.

It is no surprise that Michael objectifies his wife, this a play about the objectification of existence itself. 

They are anti-existentialists – taking more and more meaning out of life with each breath they take

.

When their own meaningless 'being' bores even themselves then they start to objectify their friends. Like characters in a play they are given roles to play and goral to match.

They are the funniest and most terrifying couple at one and the same time.

The acting in this production by new Brighton Production company Oscillate Wildly (OW) was very powerful indeed, nicely understated by 'Ferdinand', relentless by "Michael" and wonderfully pregnant with lust for the object by "Vera".

The production company are also worth a mention and say of themselves "Oscillate Wildly Productions is a brand new theatre company based in Brighton/Hove. 

"The idea behind forming the company was to give greater opportunity to those who have either studied in theatre and who have found themselves working in other areas during the day, or those who have a real passion for all aspects of the theatre. 

"It is a chance to really get involved with developing and creating all types of theatrical experiences. 

"When Casper Jones first put an advert in the papers, perhaps he shouldn't have been surprised at the number of people who contacted him who wanted to be involved with all areas of running the initial show; through giving up their spare time to help in any way they could. This is the kind of ethos that really encouraged Casper to pursue the idea."

Such a vibrant company would seem to fit in with the vital creative project that is the Nightingale Theatre, situated just above the Grand Central Bar near the station this is one of the best little theatres in the country. I suggest you check out there website as soon as you can. 

In all I have seen it said that this play is an attack on the desensitising nature of Soviet communism. It is not.  Instead it is a witty and cunning attack on what followed its downfall. 

It was so good I felt bereft when it ended!



by: Howard Young (Arts Editor)


Share    


With their new album, Heads Up, Warpaint were looking for a way back to the feelings of excitement they got from their early gigs. A body of work that captured the spirit of the band's live sound: " .. we knew we wanted to play something dancier, faster and fun,"

After instantly selling out their UK tour within a matter of minutes, electro pioneers Kraftwerk have added a date at the Brighton Centre, in June 2017.

Laura Marling's forthcoming album Semper Femina was largely written out on the road, following the release of her acclaimed album, Short Movie. 

Bridget Christie will be headlining a host of female comedians to raise money and awareness for two Sussex women's charities (Rise and Survivors' Network) as part of a global Sixteen Days campaign to end violence against women. 

To commemorate twenty years years since the release of their incredible, number one debut,1977 , Northern Irish rockers Ash are back with a special run of shows at which the album will be played in its entirety and in sequence.

Mercury Prize nominee Ed Harcourt has been lined-up to curate The Flying Seagull Project's benefit concert for child refugees, which will feature the likes of Carl Barât, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, The Magic Numbers, Tom McRae, Kathryn Williams, Lock, the Dirty Pretty Strings and Simon Munnery,

A nuclear war between the United States and China is not only imaginable but a current ‘contingency’, says the Pentagon. John Pilger's 60th film and first since 2013's Utopia is his most urgent work to date and is both a warning and an inspiring story of resistance.

It's chilly outside, temperatures are dropping, daylight hours are short and for many of us thoughts now turn towards preparing for Christmas festivities, involving family, friends or loved ones.

The Brighton Dome has a long rich history that dates back to the then Prince of Wales (later King George IV)  and to many an evening of pomp and pageantry  The Damned have a long rich history that dates back to the birth of punk. Surely, never the twain shall meet?

Brighton trio The RPMs are joining ska icons The Beat at their Concorde 2 date on 9th December. They are also rounding off the year with single I Think It's Stupid (complete with a video all filmed in Brighton too)… 

Storymaker, playwright and performer, Michael Morpurgo's work reaches across the arts. It's a career that's been recognised with the author receiving the J M Barrie Award for his contribution to children literature.

Jon McDevitt has suffered for your pleasure, you owe him at least a listen in return. From the still smouldering ashes of Brighton Magazine favourite's Geist, comes a solo offering with all the seasonal flavouring and cheer of an artist happy in his own skin.

From rising homelessness to the increasing reliance of residents on food banks, a new show from a recently formed local company Brighton People's Theatre, Tighten Our Belts,takes as its subject the significant cost of austerity for people living and working in the city. 

David Brent is the character created and made world famous by Ricky Gervais as part of his ground breaking, award winning BBC2 comedy The Office.

Archive search

Search our archives for what's on and gone for the best of this city's theatre music comedy news and much more...







Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd