Last week I watched the fascinating Mark Lawson interview with Jimmy McGovern - a writer that I have a lot of time for. But I was very disappointed in McGovern’s view of theatre. He said that it bored him rigid. That everybody appeared to be ‘acting’ and far too interested in projecting their voices to the back of the theatre. What he failed to grasp is the fact that ‘live’ theatre is a completely different animal from that of a film or TV play. If you go to the theatre in the hope that it’s going to be like cinema, better to stay home and slump on the sofa in front of the box.
At its best, theatre is a magical experience shared between the actors and audience. There is a mesmerising quality of beautifully honed prose delivered with the precision and sensitivity of a well-trained voice. It is a wonderful thing to experience and has been since time immemorial.
Photograph: Tristram Kenton
Last night at the Almeida Theatre in Islington I witnessed and experienced that special quality that is theatre in their new production of Hendrik Ibsen’s The Master Builder starring Stephen Dillane and Gemma Arterton. I would urge Mark Lawson to take Mr. McGovern - he just might change his view.
Photo: Simon Annand
Read Michael Billington’s excellent reviewof The Master Builder here.