On the Waterfront

For some reason, what’s hot in London theatre at the moment includes two plays set in New York (centering around the dock workers) near the same time.  We had the opportunity to see a fabulous revitalization of A View From the Bridge, and Tuesday night made our way to the Theatre Royal Haymarket for On the Waterfront.  It is a gorgeous traditional London theatre complete with marble and ornate chandeliers.

While Steven Burkoff’s stage adaption of On the Waterfront does showcase a group of talented actors, a compelling style and interpretation, as well as a having a similar feel to a graphic novel, there is something a bit disjointed about this production.  The slow motion scenes which are so cleverly used in a few instances may be a bit overused and tend to become a bit awkward.

Credit should be given for the obvious efforts being made to entertain and challenge the audience through a very artistic presentation of a well known film.  The actors came across as absolutely committed, unfortunately the production still felt a bit forced.  The romance was not entirely believable.  At times anger and shouting covered lines and did not give a wide enough range to convince us of the darkest truth.  The mob wasn’t quite a formidable as may have been intended.  The ending, well…  It dissipated into a slow motion sequence rather being strongly punctuated–the triumphant moment losing its glory and fading directly into the cast’s bows.

I am still impressed with the amount of work that went into this production and I keenly wish for its success.  Perhaps with the remainder of the run, the details will fall into place.

Added to the list of things I’d like to see: Waiting for Godot, starring Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen.  Handsome and strange all in one show.  Nice.