Against Tom Fordish designed sets, four middle-aged men in a barber-shop quartet of sorts sing/chant Gregorian style T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," Maurice Blanchot's "The Madness of the Day," Franz Kafka's short story "Excursion into the Mountains", Samuel Beckett's "Worstward Ho." Mostly excruciating, though it had its moments. Silver lining, a reminder of how extraordinary the texts themselves are without any interference from the high-minded. At the Barbican, composed by Heiner Goebbels, and performed by the Hilliard Ensemble.
Antigone by Sophocles at Riverside Studios by the Theatre Lab Company is superb. Creon and Chorus especially good. All the strum and drang somehow reasonable in this production. And Shakespeare's debt to Sophocles, especially Macbeth, Richard III and Romeo and Juliet very evident. A lot is owed to Robert Fagles very beautiful and current translation. Favorite lines: "Of all the evils afflicting humankind, the worst is lack of judgement" and "The greatest part of joy is wisdom."
The Real Thing at the Old Vic directed by Anna Mackmin. The cricket bat speech still dazzles, the diaphragm quip still very funny, all else humdrum. Toby Stephens suave, Hattie Morahan shrill, but Fenella Woolgar's Charlotte had some energy and bite. Though I have admired Kevin Spacey's choices in productions--mostly revivals since our culture is basically brain dead--I haven't seen anything at the Old Vic during his tenure that I could call very good, much less brilliant.