Sunday, 28 September 2008

RIFLEMIND, Trafalgar Studios, Sept 08


Trafalgar Studios failed to make the hat-trick for us. After the great experiences of Elling and Dealer's Choice we went in to see Riflemind with hope in our hearts (more so since we really love John Hannah), only to have it crushed by reality.

The reality is, this is a bad play, there's no way around it. This story (?) about the strangled reunion of a rock band with their one-time lead musician (now living a normal life far from the glitter of rock glamour) is weak, unfocused and unexciting. None of the characters is particularly well-drawn or particularly interesting and it all looks like a washed-up version of a play (or movie) we've seen a thousand times before. It was predictable, and worse, it was utterly boring.

Poor John Hannah did what he could, with the script he had been given. It's a shame cause he would be amazing in a more worthy enterprise - his skills and charisma made the night almost bearable for the audience. He took the scantilly-written character of John, burned out Scottish singer and songwriter, and he tried to steered him far from the clich├ęs he had been written into. Hannah was a courageous performer but he was ultimately foiled by the low quality of Andrew Upton's writing.

We can also save from the disaster Susan Prior, playing wife to John Hannah's has-been rocker. She wasn't spectacular but she was decent enough, which is more than I can say of the rest of the cast.

For more than 40 pounds the seat I (writer, unemployed) came out of the theatre feeling completely cheated.

Reviews:
Guardian.
Independent.
Telegraph.
The British Theatre Guide.

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