Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mrs Warrens Profession review (Comedy Theatre) - a tad too tedious

I have got no issue with long dialogue. Wife will attest to that, usually with her doing the talking and me, listening. Not only that, I count Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy's 1995 “Before Sunrise” and 2004 “Before Sunset” along my favourite movies. For the uninitiated, Sunrise is the sequel to Sunset and both involve a couple who hooked up on a train and found solace in each other through long conversations through the sunset and many years later, through sunrise.

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And I kid you not, for the entire length of these movies was dominated with dialogues between the unlikely couple as they stroll along streets of Vienna in the first installment and subsequently Paris in the sequel. Now that I have convinced you that I have absolutely no problem digesting hours of mere talking, a disclaimer should be put in place. At no point in time was the dialogues boring. Ranging from life as it was and societal issues, they were, on the contrary, rather engaging.

Mrs Warren’s Profession currently playing at Comedy Theatre was a totally different matter altogether.

The two hours and fifteen minutes play written by George Bernard Shaw in 1893 revolved around the relationship between a mother and her child. The latter (Vivie by Lucy Briggs-Owens), an aspiring actuary, was brought up alone, attended good schools and boarding houses, all using money sent to her by her mother (Mrs Warren by Felicity Kendal) who was based overseas.

Though I had not come across Shaw’s original play, it didn’t take me too long to realise what Mrs Warren’s profession was. Four minutes into the show to be exact. So imagine having to sit through two more hours of tedious dialogues between the six characters revolving around Mrs Warren’s profession, not to mention the understated anguish Vivie displayed when she realised that the money that she had been spending all those years didn’t exactly fall from the sky.

So that was how the play went. Vivie’s struggle to maintain the moral high ground while Mrs Warren berated her stubbornness in an increasingly tiresome staccato tone. Believe me, it was painfully tedious. It reminded me of Judi Dench’s Madame De Sade, another play that I actually felt like withering in my seat. Even Jude Law’s Hamlet was marginally bearable compared to Mrs Warren’s Profession though I must admit that I was never a student of Shakespeare to begin with.

Unless you are a hardcore fan of Shaw and long monotonous plays, I suggest that you head towards Bedroom Farce instead. It’s a different genre I know but really, there is no need to subject yourself to two hours of agonizing Victorian sensitivities. Seriously.

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5 comments:

Emm said...

Ahah. I will ensure that I avoid this then. You're seeing quite a bit of theatre recently - good for you!

C K said...

@Emm,
With the recent weather turning for the better, I should be heading out into the sun more often, shouldn't I? :)

How was your Easter holiday? I hope you had a good break.

Karin said...

hmm, reviews of Mrs Warren's Profession were generally quite good, i thought! it looked interesting - pity you didn't like it!

C K said...

@Karin,
I guess it's a matter of genre preference, isn't it? That said, I thought that the execution of the plot was rather monotonous. Then again, it might be as such in the original play.

Have you read the original play?

Emm said...

Hey! It was great thanks - we went to Isle of Wight the week before which I had been planning on doing since reading your post last year!