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)


   

Local resident  and comedian Jim Moir (better known as Vic Reeves), wife Nancy and daughters Lizzy and Nellie, had a wild experience in South Africa recently, when they flew out to the Shamwari Game Reserve with international wildlife charity, The Born Free Foundation.
After twenty years in Everything But The Girl, and ten years as a respected DJ and record label boss of Buzzin' Fly, Ben Watt announced last year he was parking everything to complete two long-planned creative solo projects. 

Bradley Wiggins will defend his title and compete in this year's Tour of Britain cycle race, which arrives in Brighton on 13th September.
The International Ocean Film Festival at Brighton Dome originates from the team behind the Banff Mountain Film Festival and  promises a sublime cinematic journey above and below the waves.
The city's teachers may have been officially off duty from their classrooms for the past six weeks, but many of them have been keeping themselves busy by volunteering their time over the summer for Young City Reads, Brighton's citywide reading initiative for primary school children.
Former England Rugby Sevens captain and Brighton College pupil, Ollie Phillips is encouraging people to tackle dementia by signing up to Alzheimer's Society's Brighton and Hove Memory Walk on 4th October.
Brighton singer Jo Harman has won the Female Vocalist of the Year at the British Blues Awards. She was nominated as one of the finalists by a wide ranging committee of industry experts, with the final decision going to public vote.
There are artists who are independent in the music industry sense, and artists who are independent in mind, spirit and the sheer bloody-mindedness with which they've made something of themselves. Nell Bryden fits both descriptions, and has the stories to prove it.
There was nothing Kate Bush about Lee Evans' return to Brighton, on Tuesday night (26th August). His was a simple set design; no fish heads, no flying and no song cycles. 
John Cooper Clarke's biting, satirical, political and very funny verse, delivered in a uniquerapid-fire performance style, resonated with the punk movement of the late 1970s.
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...






Latest Brighton Jobs

Teaching Assistant

Teaching Assistant Required, Hove Are you the type of teacher we are looking for?  Passionate about education and improvement  Strong classroom management...
Supply Desk - Hove
More details

Science Teacher

Science Teachers Required, Hove Are you the type of teacher we are looking for?  Passionate about education and improvement  Strong classroom management...
Supply Desk - Hove
More details

Primary Supply Teachers

Primary Supply Teachers Required, Brighton and Hove Are you the type of teacher we are looking for?  Passionate about education and improvement  Strong...
Supply Desk - Brighton and Hove
More details

Art Teacher Required

Art Teachers Required, Brighton. Are you the type of teacher we are looking for?  Passionate about education and improvement  Strong classroom management...
Supply Desk - Brighton
More details
Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd