|Hell: Fiennes and other people|
It is a woman’s business to get married as soon as possible, and a man’s to keep unmarried as long as he can.‘the Life Force’ and ‘political economy’ belong in a remote world, not only more than a century ago but one that the First World War would turn upside down. Moving Shaw’s views to the present day makes them seem backward, misleadingly so when he was, in his time, a progressive and feminist.
The inclusion of the third act was probably a good idea in revival. Its removal in the past was possibly as much due to Shaw’s irreverence for religion – there is much ironic debate about the virtues of Hell as opposed to the dullness of Heaven - as it was for brevity. But the whole play should have been cut, retaining Shaw’s wit
There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart’s desire. The other is to get it.and removing his long windedness - a job for a Tom Stoppard.
As a NT Live production it seemed less ‘filmic’ in its use of close-up than The Hard Problem (posted about last month), but, for me, still spent too much time too close to actors whose technique was theatrical and meant to be seen at a distance. Nonetheless we hicks in the sticks remain grateful for the opportunity to see first rate ‘live’ performances which we wouldn’t get near otherwise. Next up here, Cumberbatch’s Hamlet in the autumn I hope.
There will be NT Live Encore performances of Man and Superman later this month and in June, depending on location. Good luck when you are trying to locate them on NT Live’s website.