[Milton-L] PL on stage--you are warned
nburns at binghamton.edu
Mon May 22 14:36:39 EDT 2006
Since List members might be venturing to London this summer and
therefore wish to run out to Richmond to see PL in stage performance, I
will share with you a recent communication from a friend (not a
Miltonist herself) who has seen it. Here is her report.
"We had no expectations about "Paradise Lost" on stage in Richmond
so did not suffer much disappointment at this grotesque show. Norman, I
think you would have despised it and throttled the cast at the Q&A
session that followed the performance.
First, the good things about it: Excellent, expressive and graceful
choreography performed by beautiful young bodies. The dancing set the
mood and I think the choreographer had actually read Milton. Another
plus: Adam and Eve, totally nude, were really good and their big scene
was well written. It was a fine directorial touch to have them get
dressed in astoundingly ugly business suits (he in navy blue, she in
gray) that underlined the stunning beauty of their nudity.
Some things I did not understand: the narrator, called "the Son" and
showing off bandaged hands, lurked in the background throughout the
play. My memory may be faulty (ha!) but does not the poem end with A&E
leaving hand in hand etc? This PL ended with an additional scene: "The
Son" bleeding from his stigmata and telling us all about redemption.
Blimey, a happy ending!
The worst: the director and his idea of Satan, and the actor playing
Satan. First off, Jasper Britton (Satan) dyed his hair hideous yellow
and wore a bloodstained white suit: aside from displaying no qualities
that would make him seductive, he looked amazingly like Gene Wilder in
Young Frankenstein. He got a few laughs trying to seduce Eve to be bad,
and I think they were intentional, but there were many more
unintentional laughs in act one. Now I know that Frankenstein creates
The New Adam who quotes Milton a lot, but is Satan a figure of fun? I
think the director (Rupert Goold, avoid him) was trying for a sort of
Berlin-Cabaret Joel Grey. Too bad Joel Grey was not available. Too bad
Jasper Britton didn't slick back his hair. Too bad there was nothing
sinister about Britton. He was very hammy on stage, always shouting in
that RSC manner. I fault the director."
For another view, check out
This link reveals that the show is on tour will travel to a number of UK
venues for 4 nights each, including Oxford and London again in late June.
More information about the Milton-L