Archive for March, 2012

A Tale Of Two Posters

Posted in Film with tags , , , , on March 19, 2012 by alexlarman

The eagerly awaited upcoming Norwegian Jo Nesbo adaptation Headhunters has a fairly striking poster:

Except that we’ve seen pretty much exactly the same poster somewhere else:

Who said that marketing originality was dead?

The Recruiting Officer

Posted in Theatre with tags , , , , on March 6, 2012 by alexlarman

Josie Rourke, the new artistic director of the Donmar, has some impressively big shoes to fill. Not only does she come after the near-legendary Sam Mendes (whose assistant director she was), but her immediate predecessor was Michael Grandage, whose regime of alternating new, experimental work with big star-driven revivals has been seen as a 10-year job application for the role of artistic director at the National when the great Nick Hytner retires. (Sidenote – aren’t we blessed to have so many really excellent directors working in the theatre at the moment?) However, her first production, of George Farquhar’s late Restoration comedy, is as assured and enjoyable as anything under the previous companies.

Farquhar’s play was written in 1706, taking it comfortably out of the usual sphere of such drama as The Country Wife or The Man Of Mode. It’s not as biting or bawdy as those plays, leaving the traditional urban setting of town for Shrewsbury, where the recruiters, led by the dashing Captain Plume (Tobias Menzies) and the vaguely sinister Sgt Kite (Mackenzie Crook) have come to hunt for gullible young men to fight. Plume is also in search of his would-be lover Silvia (Nancy Carroll), who has taken to cross-dressing for entirely spurious plot purposes, and all are confused by the foppish Captain Brazen (Mark Gatiss), who makes twirlery, kissing and ‘m’dear!’-ing his arts.

Apparently this is the first time that the Donmar has staged a Restoration comedy, but it shouldn’t be the last. It’s not an especially rigorous or deep reading of the text, with most of the laughs coming from the near-pantomime exuberance with which an excellent cast (including Rachael Stirling giving an absurdly camp performance as an affected lady of ‘ears’) give the material. Some late attempts to graft on a vaguely moving finale don’t really sit easily with everything that’s gone before, but the glorious performances (especially from Menzies and Carroll) are a pleasure to watch throughout. If you can get tickets, you ought. M’dear.