Ian (lovingboth) wrote,
Ian
lovingboth

The Bacchae - longer

Not just because it's one hour fifty long, no interval.

Alan's entrance has been widely trailed. And that bum is great.

Alas, that's our only view of it, and one of the reasons for the coy adjustment of the costume when landing is that - if you're sensibly at the front - you can see he's wearing a thong. Bent was obviously this year's chance to see his willy.

Ahem.

Fortunately, it's not a case of the 1970s 'Confessions of...' films - I was thinking last night that I bet virtually all of you are lucky enough to have never seen any of these - where the Goodies so rightly pointed out that Robin Askwith's bum could act, but nothing else could.

Dionysus is a god, and Alan clearly delights in playing such a pleasure-positive, sexual and ambiguous one. When Pentheus talks at one point about seeing two of him, one with horns, you can believe that Alan has them, you just haven't noticed them properly.

Indeed presence lights up the stage to such an extent that they have to use about 40m of gas jets for the fire or 96kW of PAR lamps (one 1kW PAR will light up a hall) to do the 'god reveals himself' light/heat of the sort that killed his mother when she saw the undisguised Zeus.

(Speaking of effects, the planting flowers one is also great.)

One Edinburgh review I saw moaned about the Bacchae being played by ten black women. Pah! They're also fabulous: different shapes, different singing voices, each in a different style of full length red dress. You may remember I complained about the RFH Carmen Jones cast being ishy - this lot can dance, sing and act, including doing the servant/messenger roles.

I'm almost tempted to suggest you take something absorbent to sit on :) because what with Alan and this lot on stage, you're probably going to have some very damp underwear.

The rest of the cast includes a very good Pentheus, angered and outraged about what's happening to his city, but also foolish and prurient enough to accept the suggestion to see for himself what goes on in the hills. Teiresias and Agave have a lovely scene together and Cadmus is fine.

The problem is that because Alan and the Bacchae are so fabulous, the contrast with most of the conclusion, where things get less funny and more horrific, is wrong. Cadmus realising what she's done isn't as powerful as it should be - the ending's been overpowered by what we've experienced before.

And I'm not sure what the solution to that is. Turning up Cadmus's emotion to eleven? It'd look like overacting and one of the great things about this is that Alan and the Bacchae aren't. Trim about fifteen minutes from the ending? Hmm, tempting, but then the purists have more to moan about.

When you've seen it (and again, if you can, you should) do let me know what you'd do...
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