Friday, November 09, 2007

The Giant

photo by Ellie Kurttz


In spite of a wicked case of jet lag and ephedra poisoning, I was at least coherent enough to drag my strung-out self to the theatre on my first night in London. I knew nothing about this play or company but "This production contains strong language and nudity." was more than enough reason for me to risk nineteen pounds. Whether it was due to my altered state of consciousness or the fact that I was a flummoxed American overwhelmed by his first few hours in a foreign country or the fact that perhaps the play was a bit too wordy and overwritten (or perhaps all three!), playwright Antony Sher's gorgeous-sounding language floated in one ear and lilted out the other. It was a comedy about Michelangelo and da Vinci competing for the contract (and the model) for the statue of David. That's about all I absorbed from the script. What I did absorb in abundance was the glorious production value. The enormous amount of respect and attention to detail the director, actors and designers committed to this play left this seasoned New York theater-goer quite astonished. There was not a single weak link in the cast (the model for the statue, Stephen Hagan, was as talented as he was droolingly hot) and the scenic and costume design- a pastiche of Renaissance sensibilities- was some of the best I have ever seen. It just seemed like all parties involved had a PHD in the science of kick-ass theatre. Nineteen pounds well spent!

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