Brighton search

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)



Related Images


   

A unique archive of photographs of Hollywood stars from the 1940s/50s/60s, many of which have never been seen before, will be going on show in Brighton in May as part of the Artist Open Houses festival.

The exhibition will pull images from a wide range of negatives that include images of Gary Cooper, President Harry Truman, Audrey Hep... more >>


Way Back is a daring new comedy set on Beachy Head, near Brighton, sensitively exploring the taboo themes of suicide, existential crises and disabled toilets. 

Beachy Head is a notorious suicide spot, the third most popular in the world ("Terrible, isn't it? Only third.")! 

Crystal Palace and Brighton fans have set aside their differences to help a little girl raise the money needed to help her walk unaided.

The parents of cerebral palsy sufferer Scarlett Hewitt, aged eight, of New Addington, last week appealed for help in their battl... more >>


To celebrate the publication of volume three of his Diaries, Travelling to Work 1988-1998, acclaimed actor, writer and comedian Michael Palin, has announced his first ever one-man stage tour, which will visit Brighton this autumn.

The show will see Palin looking back at twenty-five years of exploring the world and nearly fifty years in radio, television, books... more >>


The Whitehawk Camp partnership has received £99,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fundfor an exciting community archaeology project based in Brighton.

Local residents will work with professional and skilled volunteers on the nationally important archaeological monument in Whi... more >>


Brighton's festival of visual art and domestic space, has announced Yinka Shonibare MBE as the Invited Artist for its sixth edition, in co-commission with Brighton Festival 2014.

Inspired by the immigration, migration and refuge themes of HOUSE 2014, The British Library is presented in the dramatic Ed... more >>


Films from Cinema of Childhood, curated by filmmaker Mark Cousins and inspired by his latest feature documentary, A Story Of Children And Film, will feature at the Brighton Festival.

“These are some of the best films you've never had a chance to see,” Cousins says. 


A host of high profile acts have been added to the line-up for the Sussex-based Jazz FM’s Love Supreme Jazz Festivalincluding alternative hip hop pioneers De La Soul, who will play songs from their illustrious 25-year career as a full 10 piece live band.

Irish rockabilly star Imelda May, showcasing music from her brand new album Tribal,and acid jazz legends I... more >>


Following the success of his first UK shows in 30 years, in 2012, Michael Nesmith, the woollen hat wearing Monkee, producer, multi-instrumentalist and country rock pioneer will be returning to the UK this year and playing the Hove Centre.

Nesmith will be joined by a full band and will perform songs spanning his entire career, from his folk music beginnings through to the pre... more >>


Glyndebourne, in Sussex, has launched a national art competition inviting talented and aspiring young artists to design the cover of its 2014 Tour Programme. 

The winning artist will see their artwork grace the cover of 10,000 copies of the Glyndebourne Tour Programme and be commerc... more >>


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