Viper Squad Ten

[ Wednesday, October 15, 2003 ]

"It's like those dreams where you're sitting at home and you suddenly see an unfamiliar door "
Starbuck [22:28] Comments: 0 []
For the first time in too many years I went to the theatre last night, to see the National Theatre's touring production of Vincent In Brixton. The couple of years that I was in London I was spoilt for theatric choice, but I never quite got round to taking advantage of it. Only now I've realised that I've got to make a lot more effort. Bugger.

Anyway, the play was brilliant. Its no wonder it won so many awards, and garnered so many fantastic reviews. For anyone who's not aware of it, its about the years that the then-unknown Vincent Van Gogh spent in Sarf Larndarn; this was before he'd endeavoured on becoming an artist, being an art-dealer under his father's thumb. Having said that, it was equally about the lives of the players in his life in London, the depression-prone widow (and her daugter) he fell in love with, the pragmatical other lodger (and laterly husband of aforementioned daughter), and their effect on his formative emotive state (and by proxy, his formative artistic state).

If that sounds a bit serious and wanky, then so be it. It wasn't. What it was, was a perfectly acted and perfectly presented representation of four people (later, five), living real lives, with real emotions. Despite being set in 1873, I knew these people - the human condition, perfectly portayed. Here were people who weren't standing before us as actors playing a part, as most actors tend to appear. Here were people who were these people. For all the good and for all the bad that that entailed. This was the cold truth of life. Deeply moving. But toweringly funny at times. Clare Higgins especially was superb, playing the widow who captured young Vincent's heart with pergfection. I suppose that if you play a part in a play night on night for months and years on end, if the script has this much quality, you can relish every moment without ever getting bored.

All day today, this thing has been sitting so prominently in my mind. (Which makes a nice change from the usual crap that drifts into my mind's eye). Bits of script keep resurfacing, which is quite a feat when you've got a memory like a sieve. And even more so, textures, feelings, emotions. A beautiful play; sadness can still be beautiful.

The fact that Vincent, as played by Ruben Brinkman, was a spitting image (complete with accent) of Avid Merrion from TV's Bo' Selecta, just goes to show how muchy of an achievement the production was - otherwise I would've spent the entire performance expecting Mr Vincent to say that things were so exciting they had "made him do a sex-wee!"

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