The Real Thing King's  Theatre Edinburgh Review Tuesday 24th October 2017

With Edinburgh Entertainment & Arts

HOMEPAGE PAST REVIEWS 2017 PAST REVIEWS 2016 PAST REVIEWS 2015

The Real Thing, Tom Stoppard’s acclaimed classic from 1983, is playing at The King’s Theatre Edinburgh this week bringing with it those great unanswerable questions of the nature of love and the ever elusive definition of “the real thing”.  Our classic tale of two couples is brought to life on stage (and off stage) here by

Adam Jackson Smith – Max

Rebecca Johnson – Charlotte

Laurence Fox – Henry

Flora Spencer-Longhurst - Annie

Henry is “THE” playright of his generation and with his current play starring his wife Charlotte and friend Max in the roles of a couple whose marriage is falling apart, Henry realises that his own marriage and life are starting to mirror his fictional work, and that his affair with Max’s wife Annie is probably the last link in the chain that will destroy everything around him.

In the programme notes, Tom Stoppard is clear that the initial driving concept of this work was the idea that the first scene turns out to have been written by a character in the second scene, but there is also something very Shakespearean about this constantly changing play within a play concept.  The very nature of the work does mean that the audience have to pay close attention to our characters as to where they are and what they are referring to at times (play or their real lives), and at times I did feel that there were no strong enough differences between our real life characters and their “play” counterparts.  On the other hand though, that blending of elements did make defining “The Real Thing” more elusive throughout the performance.

This is a strong and experienced cast, and this showed at every level.  Although firmly set visually in the 1980s, Tom Stoppard has wisely again chosen not to update this work as the central questions about love and the romantic idealism that Henry has of love (at odds to me with him choosing to have an affair with a friend’s wife) are universal and timeless.  Time though is a funny thing, it cannot be touched, held or examined, but somehow periods in time have their own very distinct feel, and somehow this production does capture the feeling of the early 1980s.  There is something very British about this work though, and I suspect that the reaction to it across the world very much depends on the social attitudes of wherever it is playing.

Like all the very best works of literature, “The Real Thing” is asking questions about so much more than the central themes, and much of the pleasure of this performance is the way in which Tom Stoppard works with words and uses them.  Like Henry, he has an obvious faith in the power of the spoken and the written word and the beauty that a skilled writer can create with them.  Questions about how words and art are used by those both in and out of political power are also examined here, and it is always a joy to watch a cast that has the skill to bring all of these concepts to life.

Also important here, the clever of  music that is put on the turntable by our characters to reflect both their personal identities and set scene changes.

Everything starts with “The Word” and no matter how skilled a cast may be, without the beauty and power of a well written script they have nothing to work with.  Tom Stoppard is a master wordsmith, and theatre today, as when this work was written, desperately needs more Tom Stoppards who have the ability to create new works out of nothing but their own imagination and love of putting words together.

 

Review by Tom King

COMING SOON

Publication  Date 15th January 2018

A-Z of Edinburgh

by Lisa Sibbald

MORE INFORMATION

vintagebritishstyle.com

Buying and selling pre 1980s- Vintage fashion magazines, dressmaking patterns, women's magazines, girls' comics and magazines, photo news magazines, costume jewellery, fashion accessories. Also vintage fashion dolls - Barbie, Sindy and costumes

Most Vogue and Harper's Bazaar magazines from mid 1950s to 2000s in stock

E-MAIL vintagecompany@aol.com

comicsmagazines.com

We are buying pre 1970s boys' and girls' comics, commando comics, Marvel, DC, Dell and other American comics and magazines, 1950s British reprint of USA comics and magazines - most genres  - super-hero, war, romance, science fiction, horror, crime, western wanted.  Pop and music magazines and papers, vintage pin-up magazines,  Dinky,  Corgi, Matchbox cars, bubble gum cards, vinyl records-pop, rock, soul, psyche, jazz, blues...and much more.

Give us a call, or send us an e-mail if you are selling vintage items, collectables and memorabilia as there are so many more items not listed here that we are buying.

E-MAIL comicsmagazines@aol.com

WEBSITE www.comicsmagazines.com

TELEPHONE  07952 237 583

ADVERTISE YOUR

BUSINESS, SERVICE,

PRODUCTS AND

EVENTS

WITH US

A wide range of display advertising options and placements available from as little as

£10 per week / £20 per month

CONTACT US FOR FURTHER DETAILS

E-MAIL southsideads@aol.com

TELEPHONE  07961 58 52 57

DESIGN SERVICE ALSO AVAILABLE

All reviews are copyright Entertainment Edinburgh / Southside Advertiser or the review writer and may not be used or reprinted in whole or in part in any medium whatsoever without the written permission of Entertainment Edinburgh / Southside Advertiser or the review writer.

We do however make exception for artists, companies and theatres involved in any review to use reviews (or part of) for their own promotion and publicity