Tuesday, 29 September 2009
I went to see a preview of Inherit the Wind on Sunday. The Old Vic has now decided to follow Broadway's lead, having Sunday afternoon shows and leaving the theatre dark on Mondays. The theatre was completely packed. Arriving for a 5pm performance which lasted over two hours still meant I was home for supper on Sunday night. A brilliant idea Kevin!
This is a fascinating show by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E Lee about the 1925 Tennessee "Monkey Trial" which sets Freedom of Thought and the writings of Darwin against bigotry and creationist ideas. It was first performed in 1955 but is now directed by Trevor Nunn to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth.
Steve Edis is the musical supervisor for the show. The musical element is so incredibly important for the audience to understand the background of this idealistically religious town in Tennessee. Their wonderful harmonies and soaring songs help us to see how powerful their religion is to their way of life. The songs were chosen with great care and sung beautifully.
The two leads in the play are Kevin Spacey as the lawyer Henry Drummond and David Troughton as Matthew Harrison Brady the MP who acts for the prosecution - two magnificent performances which must be seen.
Paris Arrowsmith, who read one of the lead parts in our new musical a few months ago, is in the show. Paris graduated from RADA in 2008 bursting with talent and inspiration. He plays three small but beautifully detailed characters Phil, the Reuters Man and the organ grinder. Each character has a different accent and carefully constructed body movement. As the organ grinder he has to cope with a live monkey on stage. The monkey is written into the script, an essential ingredient in a play which deals with Darwin's theories on the origin of the species, but as always with animals on stage it cannot be guaranteed what it will do! I hope we are going to see more of Paris in the future.
Posted by Teresa Howard at Tuesday, September 29, 2009