While I’m doing these cultural updates, I’ll put in the two plays my lovely mother took me and my brother to last week.
On Saturday evening we (and my brother’s girlfriend) went to see Great Expectations at the Gate, which was really good, although it turned out none of us had ever read the book (even my mother, surprisingly, although she had seen previous productions on stage and screen) so my brother printed out the 17 page wikipedia article on the book so we could cram on the story. I found it easy enough to follow Hugh Leonard‘s play (from Charles Dickens‘ novel, of course), though, which was very good, without the synopsis. I may try the book sometime this year, although it’s not first on my reading list.
Before that, on Thursday evening last, we went to the Abbey, and saw George Farquhar‘s The Recruiting Officer, which is just over 300 years old, and quite funny, but I didn’t like it as much as Great Expectations. I don’t mind characters it takes work to like, who have an apparant paucity of redeeming qualities even for a long time, [hey, I fell for Dorothy Dunnett's Francis Crawford of Lymond, didn't I?] but there do have to be some sympathetic characters from fairly near the beginning, otherwise I can find a story rather unsatisfying. I want to care for a reason.
It’s not like I’m placing The Recruiting Officer in anything like the same category as The Merchant of Venice [don't get me started on on Portia's hypocrisy re straining the quality of mercy] where I ended up disliking literally everybody, but something just didn’t sit quite as I’d prefer. It was a very well staged production though.