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His Dark Materials
SRD - 15-4-2008 at 07:49

We went to the Theatre Royal, Bath last night to see the Young People's Theatre production of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials. A fabulous production, brilliantly performed by these relatively young actors. I can't fault it, the costumes, the puppetry, the scenery, the acting, the interpretation of the books (based on Nicholas Wright's National Theatre adaptation although Pullman contributed at workshops as well), the lot. Presented in two plays, the first starting at 2.00pm the second at 7.00pm, giving us a couple of hours for a reasonable meal at Café Rouge, it was a great way to spend half a day escaping from the trials and tribulations of real life.
It would be invidious to pick out individual performances as 'best', but I must mention a handful; Evvy Miller as Stelmaria, Lord Asriel's daemon, slunk, purred and insinuated her way around the stage, the very apotheosis of a snow leopard, Leah Elston-Thompson as the youngest Lyra, Tom Shaw (A Gyles Brandreth look-alike who played the part as if he was GB) as Lord Boreal, although I'd love to know what happened to his daemon when he was in Will's world, Jethro Smith in his main role of Iorek, roared and thundered like a real polar bear, Jonathan Chorley as the younger Will and the three harpies, with their triple breasts dripping blood, flew magnificently around the stage, in fact all of the flying was good.
Many of the cast took on several roles, but it still had a troupe of the best part of 150. A tremendous production, if you live within striking distance of Bath, go see these kids, they are brilliant.


John_Little - 15-4-2008 at 08:17

Excellent stuff, Simon. Loved the books and would have loved to have seen this production.


DMWright - 15-4-2008 at 08:51

Sounds cool, I've only ever read Northern Lights hope the production was better than a certain lame movie ...gonna have to read the other two books at some point.


Swish Checkley - 15-4-2008 at 10:01

Sounds great :)


John_Little - 15-4-2008 at 13:44

Quote:
Originally posted by DMWright
Sounds cool, I've only ever read Northern Lights hope the production was better than a certain lame movie ...gonna have to read the other two books at some point.

You cannot be serious!

How could you wait so long to find out what happened?

Get reading that ghoul!


LSemmens - 15-4-2008 at 14:05

Your review makes this sound like a great production, Simon. I had to look up the title as I was not aware of it and am now better educated as a result. Many would decry the storyline, however, the overview that I have read, at least, makes it worth investigating to determine if the complains are justified, or not, IYKWIM.


John_Little - 15-4-2008 at 15:27

Leigh,

This is a truly marvelous story. About young love and all sorts of things.


SRD - 15-4-2008 at 16:37

Like so many alternative ideas about the universe and life those with an authoritarian opinion, be it religious or political, often see it as a direct attack on them. To me it's the somewhat idealistic idea that youth and love can conquer all and that all human adults are unpleasant. I'm too much of a cynic to accept the first premise and too much of an optimist to entertain the latter.

It didn't stop it being a marvellous production even if I find the ending weak, as I did when they serialised the books on the radio, but that is a failing in the author, not in the production.


John_Little - 15-4-2008 at 18:37

Simon.

do not blame pullman for any shortcomings in the script of a radio play. The ending in the book was the saddest but most wonderful ending I have ever read.


LSemmens - 16-4-2008 at 00:30

Quote:
Originally posted by SRD
Like so many alternative ideas about the universe and life those with an authoritarian opinion, be it religious or political, often see it as a direct attack on them. To me it's the somewhat idealistic idea that youth and love can conquer all and that all human adults are unpleasant. I'm too much of a cynic to accept the first premise and too much of an optimist to entertain the latter.

It didn't stop it being a marvellous production even if I find the ending weak, as I did when they serialised the books on the radio, but that is a failing in the author, not in the production.

Agreed. I'm always willing to investigate the alternatives, so that I can then, at least, make an informed decision. It's unlikely that I'll ever see the play, but I may well investigate the movie, despite the poor review, here.


John_Little - 16-4-2008 at 08:13

Leigh,

Just go read the books.

John


LSemmens - 16-4-2008 at 12:28

I'd seriously consider reading the books, John, except that I have too little time. I'd imagine that the books are similar to the LOTR books, which I appreciate, but I never could "get into" hence, I've not even finished "The hobbit" let alone the Trilogy.


SRD - 16-4-2008 at 12:49

Very different to LOTR, HDM is much more modern and explores the modern world rather than the the post WWII world.

Oh and LOTR is very different to the Hobbit, the Hobbit is much more a simple adventure, although I think, in the long run, I prefer the Hobbit.


LSemmens - 16-4-2008 at 13:18

Obviously a different author and writing style. It's more the "fantasy" imagery that is less my style. why? I can't explain.


John_Little - 16-4-2008 at 13:40

Well, The Dark Materials trilogy is definitely fantasy - albeit with a very real edge. Sort of "Boys Own" with a touch of Shakespear thrown in.


liz - 27-4-2008 at 17:25

Sounds like a fabulous production!