Sunday, 21 April 2013

Dubai Drama Group presents God Of Carnage at The Jam Jar

I am a fan of Yasmina Reza. I saw the London production of "Art" well over a decade ago with a cast made up of George Segal, the recently deceased Richard Griffiths and Paul Freeman. I loved it. A few years ago I directed the show in Botswana.

I have read the script of "God of Carnage" with a burning need to see, act or direct the show. I was thrilled (and more than a little envious) to see that The Dubai Drama Group were putting it on. I have been looking forward to this show for a very long time. I was not disappointed.

Two set of parents meet to discuss the behaviour of their respective children. One child hit the other in the playground. Darlings, do not tell me you have not been to this place, either as a parent or as one of the children or as a supportive friend. It is a scenario that has played its self out in various guises since the end of the 1950's and the start of the “New Age Sensitive Caring Parenting” era. The Parents meet, there is tension at a social level naturally, then is slips and dips between the subtle judgements and prejudices of  class, politics  and keeping up with the Joneses. Add to the mix a couple of drinks and the civilised veneer starts dropping. In the hands of Yasmina Reza it becomes a wonderful witty reflection and acerbic observation on society.

The Dubai Cast, in the unforgiving space that is the Jam Jar, was a delight to watch. Mike Green and Brook Butterworth play the high flying professionals Alan and Annette (Woof -Woof – watch the play you will get it) Raleigh. Russell Bell and Sophie Paris play Michael and Veronica Norvak our counter point couple. Mike Green carried his role with the comfort and ease of a pro. He was Alan Raleigh down to his shiny shoes and oblivious disregard of the annoyance his constant phone calls generated.  Russell Bell gave us a charming performance in a style reminiscent of Louie CK. Brook Butterworth was, as I have come to expect her to be, a polished performer. I want to know how she did the throwing up scene – well done. Sophie Paris was “The save the world and make it a better place” character trigger for much of the reaction in the play.

If I had been directing…. I would have had walk on music and house music. A well-chosen piece of music sets the tone. I would have tried to do something about the long shadows on the back wall. I know it is difficult in this space. It is wonderful that the Jam Jar supports drama by making the venue available for dramatic productions but it is not an ideal space to work with. A shout out for whoever did the costumes - not mentioned in the Programme. The costumes were exactly right and thank you for wearing stockings ladies. THERE IS NOTHING WORSE THAN BARE LEGS ON STAGE. It is just tacky.
No more Mrs Nice Gal...

This show was sympathetically directed. The transitions from polite  to aggressive behaviour were well orchestrated and did justice to the talent that is Yasmina Reza. Her plays are very, very good but they are not easy to act / direct.  There is always the risk of either going over the top or missing stresses in subtle dialogue with her work.  Her scrips have hidden depths and hitting the right note is essential to pull off the ironic humour. Nina Hein assisted by Georgiana Jennings got it just right.

There are performances this week from the 25th to the 27th April at the Jam Jar in Al Quoz at 8.00pm. Entrance is by donation for free seating. Do yourselves a favour. Go and see the show.

On the edge of being reasonable.


Promotional pieces:-

Time Out Dubai.

The National

Dubai Drama Group

Khaleej Times - City Times

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