"the gross and scope of my opinion ..." Hamlet I,1.
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
HUSBANDS AND SONS
Theatre at the Dorfman
easy to parody the kind of gloomy Black Country working-class angst
that makes up Lawrence's three plays from a
they are interwoven ingeniously by
played out in three houses packed in to the Dorfman stage, and
delineated by architect plans. This geometrical design, and the floor
projections, recall other work in this space, also directed by
coal mine is a constant presence, with rumblings and light from
beneath. Women are routinely abused by black-dusted brutes, bread is
burned, crockery broken, pricey
prints consigned to the fire.
design [by Bunny Christie] is wonderfully evocative, and there are
countless memorable stage pictures, notably the three wives standing
on the tables of the three houses as the menfolk
march through to the pit.
acting all round, though the dialect does prove a challenge at times.
Despite the title, this is really about the womenfolk – Lawrence
himself appears in the guise of bookish Ernest [Johnny Gibbon]. The
action is centred around the kitchens and sculleries [with an
effective mix of mime and props as fires are stoked, kettles filled,
pots washed]. Anne-Marie
Duff is Lizzie Holroyd, trapped in a violent marriage to alcoholic
Charlie [Martin Marquez]. Louise Brealy is newly-wed Minnie, Susan
Brown excellent as her meddling matriarch of a mother-in-law.
risky work, handlin’ men, my lass. For when a woman builds ’er
life on men, either ’usbands or sons, she builds on summat as
sooner or later brings the ’ouse down crash on ’er head – yi,