I’ve seen both National Theatres this week.
The National Theatre of Scotland on Wednesday; which put on a very thought provoking, intellectual production (27) in conjunction with The Lyceum – it was very good… striking, poignant and absorbing (although the lady behind me in the queue for returns at The Kings and Joyce McMillan both took a different point of view) – and The National who have laudably taken their Lytellton Theatre spring hit out to the provinces.
The expectation has been bit of a tsunami here in Scotland with review after review proclaiming the genius of this show.
Miraculously, I never even realised it was playing in Edinburgh until Thursday but persuaded Jeana that it was worth a punt to stand in the returns queue for the matinee.
We struck gold. Central seats in the stalls six rows from the front.
And, oh my god, what treasure we found.
I’ll deal with the one bad bit first…The second act has so many plot details to resolve that it slightly runs out of steam and nearly got in the way of Corden and Co’s standing ovation.
But it didn’t!
Now for the manna.
This is outrageously good entertainment. Completely and utterly unpretentious theatre for the masses. I tell you, if you scooped up 1,500 randoms from Princes St, Leith Walk, anywhere in Edinburgh and dumped them in the Kings and said ” Right, fuck what you think of theatre and its lovey dovey connotations and just watch this” they too would be on their feet at the end like me.
This is cultural gold.
It’s like the best bits of every pantomime you ever saw. The central scene in which Corden waits a meal for his two masters in The Cricketers Arms restaurant area is so slapstick, so outrageous, so brilliant that I think a little bit of wee wee escaped from me.
In the first act James Corden performs gladiatirially.
It’s immense. It’s unforgettable. It’s uncompromising and yet, and yet, he has a supporting cast of 16 around him that he cannot overshadow, so great is their contribution to this brilliant, brilliant piece of unaffected entertainment.
I could go on and on and on about this. But that would only spoil it. Clearly adaptations of 16th Century Italian farces still have great life in them if you get the best writers involved.
I simply cannot recommend this show highly enough. It transfers back to London (West End) next month and it is unmissable.