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Paul at the Globe
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scribble



Joined: 22 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

msandusky wrote:
It seems the reviewer was bothered by a look, not looking at the performance. It doesn't seem to match with the other critics take on his performance. I think you're right, his circumstances certainly would have made him "slight" and "waifish" unless there had been plenty of food and a physical trainer aboard his ship.


Yes, the other reviews focused on the performance, not the look. Glad you 'feel' me on this one, Michele! Laughing
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scribble



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michelle wrote:
I'll try and get the review done on the website tomorrow or Tuesday but Paul was amazing. Everything you would have wanted and more.

I loved the Globe Theatre as a setting and really enjoyed the interaction between the characters and the audience.

Paul is clearly enjoying performing and it shows - i'm hoping to get back to see it on Friday before I go on holiday.


Yay Michelle!!
So glad to hear that Paul's enjoying himself. And it seems like you enjoyed your Globe experience too, please tell us evv-rything! Laughing
I'm looking forward to reading every single word of your review on M. Bros.
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scribble



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From The Observer:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2009/aug/09/pornography-helen-theatre-review

Helen

* Susannah Clapp
* The Observer, Sunday 9 August 2009
* Article history

Helen is a really god-smacking play, a real Globe rediscovery. First staged in 412BC, and not often seen, it's an early version of alternative myth-making; it also features what is probably the first virtual figure. Euripides remakes the story of the Trojan war. He suggests that it wasn't a fleshly Helen who went off with Paris, but an airy avatar created by the troublemaking god, Hera; the real woman stayed faithful to her husband, Menelaus, and was finally united with him. This was another one of those wars fought over something that was never really there.

Frank McGuinness's roistering new version doesn't have the lyricism of Kenneth McLeish's translation, with its picture of an Egypt of melted snows. But neither does it have the bilginess of early "fair virgin streams" versions.It's often violently expressed (poor old Paris is seen to "scarper off with a shadow") but it is passionate and fast-moving. Deborah Bruce's robust production has plenty of knockabout - Helen's sibs Castor and Pollux descend from Heaven as a fly-down comedy duo - but it also has an ethereal thread: the sounds of woodwind and a falsetto twine through the episodes.

From the start, McGuinness puts the action in the hands of Penny Downie's extraordinary Helen, who seizes the stage to create a character who is down to earth but touched with the wing of another world (after all, her father was Zeus). She moves in a breath from beating her breast to shucking off bad news with a lift of her heel, as if she were shaking dog poo from her sandal. She dips her voice into a vat of molasses to tempt her husband - Paul McGann is a fine, strong Menelaus - into a bath, fronts up to adversaries like an alley cat and runs across the stage as if she were blown by the wind. She knows how to commandeer the Globe: when looking for a chariot the night I was there, a low-flying aircraft boomed overhead; Downie gestured towards it as if it were a winged vehicle, and took the audience with her, looking up towards the gods.
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Tegan



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michelle did you sit or stand?
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I sat in the middle gallery, second row - probably the best viewing place.

I think I would enjoy being in the yard some time though, as a lot of the action happens there, cast members pushing aside audience members to get through etc, looked like good fun. However, it would be unfair to do that when I know Paul - when it's a faceless crowd that's one thing, but when someone you know is stood there I can imagine it would be distracting.

He is almost half way through his run now, 8 shows left, so i'm really hopeful I can make it work on Friday. I'm not too sure whether i'm going to make the Matinee Idles event in September, so if not then I won't see him til Chicago. We did chat about that yesterday though a bit Very Happy
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Tegan



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool glad you had good seats - I've only been the once and I was in the middle but top which was like a weird birds eye view of the whole venue , that was to see Love Labours Lost. Would love to go back its a fantastic venue


According to St Trinians update (slightly OT) David Tennant, Colin Firth, Rupert Everett and Sarah Harding are all filming St Trinians - The Legend of Fritton's Gold at the Globe today! Very Happy
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emay
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great report, Michelle! It's cool that he's enjoying himself, and I love all the nice reviews. Does he read his notices, or does he feel like Richard Burton that the bad ones aren't helpful and the good ones are never good enough?

Also, did Paul say how he felt about returning to Chicago? I'm sure he'll be ready to schmooze.

Estelle
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msandusky



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm so jealous, Michelle. It's been ages since I've seen a good play and one with Paul...that would be the best.

I'm nervous about meeting The Paul in Chicago.
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Tegan



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lol I like how you called him The Paul Wink don't be nervous, just be your charming self
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From a blogger, Norman Geras: (Aug. 10, 2009)
http://rullsenbergrules.blogspot.com/2009/08/visit-to-london-sunday-2nd-august-2009.html

An excerpt:

"... Okay, so it wasn't a Shakespeare play (we must get back there for one of those), but it was starring lovely Penny Downie and Paul McGann. This was Helen by Euripides, by way of Frank McGuinness and based on Fionnuala Murphy's literal translation.

Reviews have been at best variable for this production: which feels a shame because we really enjoyed it (even if I did get the play's length thoroughly muddled and confused that this was 3 hours long... what WAS I thinking?!) The 90 minute production was lively and full of verve and vigour - Downie really gives it her all and I wanted her gold dress sooooo badly it almost hurt. It was witty, disruptive and ultimately a joyful experience, albeit with the disturbing undertone that the Trojan wars had been for nothing: is the ghost created by Hera the classical equivalent to the clones that litter science fiction texts? I really enjoyed the light touch and humour in the production - the relationship between hapless Angels Castor and Pollux was especially entertaining - and the sheer physicality of the production: Downie totally throws herself into the production, climbing and hanging from heights that show off her dramatic and lithe sense of rhythm and movement. McGann was compelling as the shipwrecked and baffled Menalaus and captured the strain of re-starting his relationship with Helen in a new light. And I even found the counter-tenor that Billington so disliked rather apt: a chorus of dramatic if distanced observation on the action."

From The Independent:
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/theatre-dance/reviews/helen-shakespeares-globe-london-1770232.html

Helen, Shakespeare's Globe, London

(Rated 4/ 5 )

Reviewed by Michael Coveney

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

In a witty piece of programming, Globe artistic director Dominic Dromgoole follows a revival of Troilus and Cressida – in which the Greeks have all but forgotten why they went to war with Troy – with the satire by Euripides that suggests Helen was never abducted by Paris in the first place.

For the divine Helen here is not Helen of Troy but Helen of Egypt, sunning herself on a funereal earth mound – a do-it-yourself pyramid of lava with freshly dug tombs and golden nicknacks, while fending off the advances of the local king Theoclymenes.

In a performance of great style and brio, Penny Downie sarcastically confronts first a wandering Greek hero, Teucer (Andrew Vincent), and then her own shipwrecked husband, Menelaus (Paul McGann), with the myth of her own legend: "I am dirt, I caused the Trojan war." The face that launched a thousand quips is the real deal while the other one was a phantom.

Helen explains the background to the plot herself: her ghost was given to Paris by a scorned goddess in a beauty contest and, hidden by Hermes on a cloud of vapours, she landed in Egypt to await her husband. When he turns up, he too is stripped of his identity in a bid to make an escape from the clutches of the rampant monarch in one of his boats; that old sea-bed trick.

It's a comedy and a farce, and Deborah Bruce's smart production rattles along for 90 minutes, making excellent use of a raggle-taggle chorus, the music of Claire van Kampen and a falsetto singer in a white tuxedo, William Purefoy, as a sort of backing group to Helen's spirited cavorting. Even the dying, mutilated messenger of Ukweli Roach is funny, and the transport of delight becomes just that as Helen and Menelaus head for the harbour and Theoclymenes (Rawiri Paratene) accepts the ruling of the Greek gods.

The new text by Frank McGuinness – using a literal translation by Fionnuala Murphy - is sharp and staccato, with a real muscular vitality, and McGuinness doesn't labour any modern parallels beyond referring to the Trojan war as the troubles.

Gideon Davey's design cleverly incorporates the Globe's two awkward pillars by cladding one in the gold leaf of the palace and using the other as a buttress to the embryonic pyramid. Egyptian iconography is wittily strewn about the stage, and on the king's head, Helen's name spelt backwards in huge white lettering either side of an entrance of silver streamers.

Downie, dressed in a golden sheath with a great mop of tangled ginger hair, combines gravitas and levity in her quick, angular movement and splendidly coloured vocalisation. She sets the right Euripidean tone by playing askance to the absurdity of her own situation. This play was a revelation in the RSC's great Greek cycle in 1980, but the Globe fully restores its imperishable brilliance and surprise novelty value.

To 23 August (020-7401 9919; www.shakespeares-globe.org)
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Does he read his notices, or does he feel like Richard Burton that the bad ones aren't helpful and the good ones are never good enough?


He hasn't read any reviews but had heard from others that they were good. He said that there's no point reading them and I agree.

Quote:
Also, did Paul say how he felt about returning to Chicago? I'm sure he'll be ready to schmooze.


We were chatting about his birthday and him being 50 this year so I asked if he was doing anything special. His reply? "We're going to Chicago"!!!!!

He helped me celebrate my 40th, it's only fair I return the favour Wink
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Mikoto



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think delicious cake is in order.
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TVM Drinking Game (updated!):

One for:
~ 'Two hearts'
~ 'Thirteen lives'
~ A clock
~ 90s-grade CG
~ Reference to Puccini/Madame Butterfly

Two for:
~ Gratuitous Doctor Who continuity
~ Overtly Messianic imagery
~ Beryllium/atomic clock
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Definitely - and we may have to raise a glass or three Very Happy
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Mikoto



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Drinks? Did someone say drinks? Aha, that's like Mikoto catnip! :3
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TVM Drinking Game (updated!):

One for:
~ 'Two hearts'
~ 'Thirteen lives'
~ A clock
~ 90s-grade CG
~ Reference to Puccini/Madame Butterfly

Two for:
~ Gratuitous Doctor Who continuity
~ Overtly Messianic imagery
~ Beryllium/atomic clock
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emay
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm all for celebratory drinks!

On another note, here's a review from the venerable New York Times about the play. I was pretty stoked about the review until I came to the part about "...Menelaus (a rather dull Paul McGann)...". Oh, well, c'est la vie.

Here's the review:

A Seductive Twist on a Classic Tale
By MATT WOLF
Published: August 11, 2009

LONDON — There’s genuine pleasure to be had when a playwright you think you know takes you somewhere else — whether you’re talking Eugene O’Neill, that avatar of domestic despair and gloom, penning the comedy “Ah, Wilderness!,” or Shakespeare launching his most knockabout work, “The Comedy of Errors,” with an extended consideration of discord and death. Now along comes Shakespeare’s Globe with a buoyant production of what would appear to be a theatrical oxymoron: a Euripides play, “Helen,” that actually has a happy ending. What would the Gods make of that? Mere mortals have until Aug. 23 to decide for themselves.


Paul McGann and Penny Downie in "Helen" at Shakespeare's Globe in London (photo by Keith Pattison).

Deborah Bruce’s production works well on its own terms, driven by an extravagant star performance from Penny Downie in the title role that seems to take its cue from the cascade of curls tumbling giddily from her head. The 90-minute show (no intermission) is even better viewed, however, as a companion piece to the Globe’s concurrent staging of “Troilus and Cressida,” a Shakespeare play on the ravages of a combat, the Trojan War, whose putative reason for being — the “pearl” that is Helen — is granted but a single scene.

By contrast, Helen drives “Helen,” not least in a characteristically, uh, funky new version from the Irish playwright Frank McGuinness that forestalls any thoughts of undue classical sobriety with a choice expletive here, an invented word like “ownio” there. Reeling about a Gideon Davey set dominated by the Greek lettering for the word Helen seen back to front, Ms. Downie’s heroine looks as if in another context she might have been some sort of fabulously glamorous cabaret artiste, even if the bulk of the music here falls to William Purefoy as a barefoot counter-tenor who ambles through the action in a white tux.

Lest facetiousness seem to prevail, one soon becomes aware, as in “Troilus and Cressida,” of a strong authorial take on the sheer absurdity of war. The surprise here is that the real Helen is revealed never to have gone off at all with Paris, languishing instead for the better part of 20 years only to be reunited with her husband, Menelaus (a rather dull Paul McGann) in a way that directly anticipates some of the plotting of the Bard’s late plays. Ms. Bruce’s staging is rightly cheeky when it needs to be — the chorus of women contains many a deep-voiced man — and playful in a way that best suits the open embrace of the Globe stage. (Pity that at the matinee caught, a persistent helicopter drowned out much of the denouement.) But “Helen” works primarily as a showcase for an actress, and Ms. Downie, recently seen at the Royal Shakespeare Company as Gertrude to David Tennant’s Hamlet, grabs the role for all it’s worth. Cajoling and deeply self-critical, at once schemer and seductress, she gives us the part in its truly infinite variety. Shakespeare, one feels, would approve.

Estelle
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