Heads Up: Rattigan's Nijinsky
The 'British Chekhov' leads audiences on a not-so-merry dance
Sunday 05 June 2011
What are we talking about?
In 1974, Terence Rattigan penned a TV script about a meeting between Sergei Diaghilev – the man behind the Ballets Russes – and Vaslav Nijinsky, the famous dancer.
The screenplay was later mysteriously withdrawn by Rattigan, never to be seen. Now, a new play premiering at the Chichester Festival imagines why. It dramatises a meeting between a dying Rattigan and Nijinsky's widow, Romola, who scrap over Rattigan's script. In the same room – and drawing on the real-life Rattigan's real-life screenplay – Diaghilev and a younger Romola have a fight over Nijinsky. Yes, it is a bit complicated.
After the Dance: re-imagining Rattigan.
Rattigan, who, thanks to his centenary this year, appears to be the prime mover of 2011 in general. Nicholas Wright, who adapted Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials for the stage, wrote the play; Philip Franks, who also stages Rattigan's The Deep Blue Sea, is in the director's chair.
The cast, which includes Jonathan Hyde as Diaghilev and Malcolm Sinclair as Rattigan, also double up for The Deep Blue Sea.
The Early Buzz
Lifestyle magazine After Hours interviewed Franks, reporting that the "actor/director is the chief architect of the Rattigan season at Chichester ... to prepare for the Rattigan marathon, Franks had to read his way through the writer's Collected Works." Asked if it was "a voyage of discovery", he replied: "Not really. I still think that Rattigan is the English Chekhov."
The festival features another new response to a Rattigan play: David Hare's South Downs is a reply to The Browning Version. Both one-act plays, they will be performed together.
It's great that...
As Wright had access to, and drew directly on, Rattigan's screenplay, the evening is being billed as "the staging of two world premieres at once".
It's a shame that...
After Cause Célèbre, Flare Path and In Praise of Love, plus Blue Sea in Leeds and Rattigan seasons at the BBC and BFI, audiences might be all Ratted out.
It's an intriguing premise and a fresh approach, although that does mean the production lacks the bankability of some better-known works.
Rattigan's Nijinsky is at the Festival Theatre, Chichester (cft.org.uk), 19 July to 3 September.
Is the comedy album making a comeback?comedy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Secret Cinema: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star, dies aged 45
- 5 Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Secret Cinema: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
Game of Thrones season 4 blooper reel unveiled at Comic-Con 2014
Best movies on Netflix UK and US: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Doctor Who series 8: Watch Peter Capaldi in new ‘Listen!’ teaser trailer
Coolio has sold his soul to Pornhub
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace