Saturday, 26 February 2011

The Hare is running

Having enjoyed some time off work this week I took advantage of the space and bought tickets to a series of plays in the Sheffield Theatres this week by David Hare. Sheffield is blessed with a number of different theatrical spaces, each of which has its own particular 'vibe', which is one of the many things I appreciate about this fine city.

On Wednesday evening we were at the Studio Theatre at the Crucible, a small, intimate stage where the audience are on top of and at times almost a part of the action. The play was 'Plenty', the story of a woman's journey from war-torn France in the 1940s, where she'd served with SOE, through a number of relationships and tedious jobs, marriage to a Foreign Office Diplomat and her eventual descent into madness.

Thursday found us in the Crucible itself for the Olivier Award-winning 'Racing Demon', which focused on the lives of four eccentric London vicars, struggling with identity, ministry, theology and church politics. Some of the dialogue was wonderfully close to home, and showed up some of the hypocrisy that is all too evident in the church today. Perhaps the characters were a little cliched (the drippy one, the evangelical one, the gay one and the hopeless one), but it was - as were all the plays - very well acted by an excellent cast.

Last night's offering was staged at the Lyceum, a more traditional theatre with circle and balcony, and was entitled 'The Breath of Life'. It consisted of a dialogue that took place in the course of one night between two women (played by Isla Blair & Patricia Hodge), both of whom had been in a relationship with the same man. It was, by turns, witty, poignant and brutal, as they together struggle wit the feelings that they had, and still have, for this man who had scarred both their lives.

It'd been a while since I'd been to the theatre, but these three plays have reawakened my love of live drama, and I hope it won't be long before I return.

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