WEEK IN REVIEW

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The Independent Culture
THE MONOLOGUE

Seven Sacraments

Overview:

Artangel and Gloria present Neil Bartlett's dramatic solo meditation upon Nicolas Poussin's seven paintings known as the Seven Sacraments which depict the stages of the body from birth to death. Set within a working hospital, Bartlett is joined by artist Robin Whitmore and lit by Rick Fisher.

Critical View:

Paul Taylor found it inspiring. "Watching this show, anyone would find their equivalent cultural contradictions illuminated." "Makes one want rush off to examine the original paintings ... best of all, he reminds us that anything is possible in theatre," gloried The Guardian. "A curving route between aesthetics and autobiography," admired The Times. "A curious, original and at times deeply moving show ... a heartfelt elegy for the death of faith," wondered the Telegraph. "Invigorating art history ... The use of a medical metaphor as an alternate means of reading these immensely complex paintings is entirely apt," approved The Scotsman. "A mixture of incantatory quotation and subversive modern campery," sniffed The Standard.

On View:

At the Royal London Hospital, London E1 tonight, Sunday and Monday at 8pm (0181-741 2311).

Our View:

A dramatic, elegiac collision between past and present, art and autobiography. The originals are in Edinburgh's National Gallery.

THE FILM

One Fine Day

Overview:

Michael Hoffman directs Michelle Pfeiffer and man of the moment George Clooney in a parental, boy-meets-girl mobile-phone romance. They've both got five-year-old kids, he's a fiery columnist, she's uptight in advertising. When they first meet, they don't get along. (I think you guessed that.)

Critical View:

Ryan Gilbey found it "a wistful fantasy", Clooney effortlessly appealing but Pfeiffer more impressive." "She mugs horribly while he spends most of his time with his head hanging down, presumably in shame. The whole thing is filmed in Beige-O-Vision," scoffed The Spectator. "Irksomely frenetic ... the principals prove unable to communicate their attraction through the sex-war banter," scorned Time Out. "Hokum ... Cary Grant and his various partners managed this sort of fantasy," said The Guardian. "Pfeiffer could do this role in her sleep. Unfortunately she mostly does," yawned the FT. "Has its moments of charm but they are few and far between," winced The Telegraph. "An easy charm and a light touch: just what romantic comedy requires," approved The Times.

On View:

Cert PG, 108 minutes, on general release.

Our View:

The phrase "light entertainment" springs to mind. The stress is on the word "light".

THE PLAY

Waiting for Godot

Overview:

Sir Peter Hall returns to Beckett's great, groundbreaking, tragi-comedy which he directed 42 years ago in its English premiere. Part of his audacious Old Vic season of classic plays, it stars Alan Howard and Ben Kingsley as the two tramps (with Irish accents), plus Denis Quilley as Pozzo and Greg Hicks as Lucky.

Critical View:

Paul Taylor saluted a "moving as well as very funny" production with excellent performances which "give an underlying dignity to this derelict couple". "One of the chief contenders for the best play of the 20th century ... attention to the changes of mood and tempo makes this production so rewarding," revelled Time Out. "Triumphantly passes every test ... They leave you in no doubt that you are watching a cross-section of fallible humanity ... a tender, touching rapport," hailed The Times. "Denis Quilley presents a Pozzo of grandiloquent splendour ... Greg Hicks as Lucky is a landmark piece of Beckettian performance," cheered the Mail. "A triumph ... not for a moment does this great play flag," cried the FT. "Two and a half hours of this portentous cobblers," sneered The Telegraph.

On View:

At the Old Vic, London SE1 (0171-928 7616) 9, 17, 19, 29 July at 7.30pm; 20, 24, 26 matinees. In rep until December.

Our View: A tremendous, richly eloquent reading of a great play, glowing with humour and sadness. The highlight of Peter Hall's season.

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