Only three can play
It could be ballet, or even mime. One of our brightest directors fills out all the forms - in triplicate. By Kate Kellaway in The Observer.
There are two subtitles to Play Without Words - 'The Housewarming' and 'On Seduction' - as if to offer audiences as many verbal clues as possible before committing them to a wordless evening. But what is a play without words? Mime? Ballet? Neither? And what was Matthew Bourne, one of Britain's most dynamic ballet directors, hoping to achieve?
According to a discouraging programme note, he seemed not to know himself: he and composer Terry Davies made up Play Without Words as they went along. Bourne understatedly confesses: 'Starting rehearsals when there is no play and no music - it's quite a tough one.'
But hold on. Inside the Lyttleton, reconstituted for the Transformation season, there is a set to lift the spirits. Three cheers for designer Lez Brotherston! Here is a London that looks as if it has been refashioned by Piranesi. The landmarks lean towards each other with tipsy confidence: the Post Office Tower, Big Ben, Centrepoint. click for more Enjoy the silence
A sly, sexy social comedy, Play Without Words will be the talk of the town, says John Peter in The Sunday Times
Matthew Bourne romps into the National Theatre’s transformed Lyttelton space with a brilliant piece of dance-theatre that is also a feast of ambiguity. Play Without Words is not anything like Beckett’s short, tragical, comical, philosophical dumb show: it is a 100-minute erotic social comedy set in the 1960s, in which the house-warming party of a young man, Anthony, in Chelsea leads to his alienation from his fiancée and to his being in thrall to his own manservant. The story bears a teasing resemblance to Joseph Losey’s 1963 film The Servant, and Bourne’s visual skills need fear no comparison. click for more
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