REVIEW: Harlequinade, Garrick Theatre REVIEW: Harlequinade, Garrick Theatre Lucy Brooks
Kenneth Branagh's Harlequinade, Garrick Theatre review: Culture Whisper says ★★★★★
In a spot of navel-gazing, Kenneth Branagh and his company have put on Terrence Rattigan's 1948 farce about a theatre company putting on Romeo and Juliet and The Winter's Tale. This Rattigan revival is part of a year long programme, Plays at the Garrick, in which the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company will produce both Romeo and Juliet and The Winter's Tale.
Dramatising backstage chaos, Harlequinade sees family skeletons coming out of the closet and scuppering opening night.
The play, as you might imagine, is full of luvvie-in jokes - but it's a great deal of fun. Wanamaker is the grand-dame of this production; commanding the stage, she's a thrill to watch. It's rare to see an actor have such an effect on an audience. Wanamaker also gives a bone-rattling performance in Rattigan's a one-woman show, All on her Own, as a drunk widow whose life is in smithereens. It's not hard to see why she's won two Oliviers.
Branagh himself fit the part of vain ageing actor, Arthur Gosport, to perfection, suspecting correctly that he's too old to play Romeo.
Make no mistake; is is a play put on by actors, for actors: a self-reflective theatre inside joke that celebrates the farcical comedy and satire for which playwright Terrence Rattigan is renowned. But it's a frothy piece of fun that softens the heavy blows of Winter's Tale and Romeo and Juliet.
|What||REVIEW: Harlequinade, Garrick Theatre|
|Where||Garrick Theatre, 2 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0HH | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
24 Oct 15 – 13 Jan 16, 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
|Price||£15 - £95|
|Website||Click here to book via Branagh Theatre|