Friday, 20 June 2008

*** "the pitmen painters" (lee hall)

thursday 19th june 2008

"the pitmen painters"
inspired by a book by William Feaver
A co-production between Live Theatre, Newcastle and the National Theatre.
cottlesloe, national theatre

by lee hall

Mixed reviews for this. S and C not totally convinced m and i really loved it.

There is so much in this play:
The nature of art and art appreciation
The difficulty men have talking about feelings and intimacy
The pressure to stay in your group and with what you know. Even if this is less than what you could have by going outside your group
Questions about exploitation and patronage
The very critical attacks the men make on each other’s work
The vulnerability of making work and the almost universal feelings of failure

Really great scenes between Oliver and Robert Lyon - first in the borrowing books scene and then later when Robert is making his sketch of Oliver and they finally express how much the other means to them
Also when Harry tells Oliver to take Helen’s offer of a stipend to paint
Also when Oliver admits to Helen that he made the wrong choice saying ''no"

Great use of projecting the paintings - not too much and never allowed to dominate

Very intelligent grown up warm and wonderful play that is just getting richer and more wonderful the more i think about it My only criticism was just a bit much shouting

Cast credits:
Christopher Connel
: Michael Hodgson
: Ian Kelly
: Brian Lonsdale
: Lisa McGrillis
: Deka Walmsley
: David Whitaker
Phillippa Wilson
Production credits:
Director: Max Roberts
Designer: Gary McCann
Lighting Designer: Douglas Kuhrt
Sound Designer: Martin Hodgson

‘A play about the importance of not just feeding your stomach and your brain, but about feeding your soul. And it does just that.’4 stars Guardian
‘Lee Hall’s new play is witty and touching… the inspiring story of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.’ 4 stars Metro
‘An inspiring, important new play. A play that's both deliciously comic and grave.’Observer

In 1934, a group of Ashington miners hired a professor to teach an art appreciation evening class. Rapidly abandoning theory in favour of practice, the pitmen began to paint. Within a few years the most avant-garde artists became their friends and their work was acquired by prestigious collections; but every day they worked, as before, down the mine.
Straight from a sell-out season at Live Theatre Newcastle, Lee Hall’s new play is a humorous, deeply moving and timely look at art, class and politics.

No comments: