Saturday, June 06, 2009

Alan Ayckbourn's "Norman Conquests" 3

I saw Table Manners three weeks ago, and Round and Round the Garden last Thursday, both time with TCH. Garden concludes the trilogy triumphantly, if concludes is the right word for a trilogy so cunningly constructed to cover the same weekend in three areas of the same house. 

I remained deeply impressed by Jessica Hynes's Annie, trapped not only in a house, but in her own person. The third part of this trilogy belonged to Ruth, played by Amelia Bullmore, with a beauty that constantly suggested a handicap. In the first part, Amanda Root was a brilliantly controlling Sarah, and Paul Ritter was her very funny and passive husband, Reg. Ben Brantley, in his NYT review, suggested that they were all in love with Norman, because he represented their longing, unrestrained ids. The whole cast persuaded me they were actual people, and not actors inhabiting a role. 

The business with the deck chairs between Ruth and Tom (Ben Miles) was choreographed to humorous perfection. Stephen Managan, who played Norman, caught his foot in the bramble and fell, twice, with natural accident. Matthew Warchus' direction looked into the smallest aspect of the performance. We were sitting in the best position in the theatre-in-the-round to watch Miles's face during his monologue, and the face was a picture of comic sadness. 

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