Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Theatrical Excitement: Madame De Sade @ Wyndhams Theatre

After being blown away by Ivanov, with Ken Branagh, directed by Michael Grandage, as part of the Donmar West End Season last year, I'm very, very, VERY excited to be seeing Madame De Sade tomorrow night, on what appears to be the second press night.

Hurrah. I was offered the (single, meh) press ticket by my boss. Amazing. I'm so grateful.

The excitement crescendos on a number of levels.

First, and most importantly, I'm getting to see the lovely Dame Judi Dench on stage for the first time. I've been a big fan for a long time now. It probably triggered by seeing her in Mrs Brown, in Bond films, in Shakespeare in Love and on telly. Or by reading about her playing a wonderful Lady Macbeth at the age of 20, while I was studying at Liverpool. (This last fact may or may not be correct - I'm sure it was wonderful, I just don't know how old she was - but surely the point is that my interest was aroused...) Tonight's research has revealed a few more choice nuggets:
  • I love the fact that when she played Lady M opposite Ian McKellen at The Other Place in Stratford, Michael Billington was there, reviewing it: "If this is not great acting I don't know what is." (Not that exceptional a quote, I'm sure MB said other things besides, but apologies: I'm using wiki. Here's hoping he's there tomorrow; he might be seeing it tonight, though.)
  • She's also a singer, having played Sally Bowles in Cabaret. Here it is on YouTube. She played Sally when she was 34. Which kinda kills my current silly "life's-going-to-be-over-when-I'm-30" vibe stone dead...
Second, the rest of the cast is pretty impressive. I can't wait to see Rosamund "Perfect Skin" Pike do her thing on stage either. She was at uni with JC, dontcha know.

Third, this is the kind of show that's got even the sensible people at the Guardian getting into mischief: Dame Judi Brings Home the Bacon...

Fourth, and cheeky, I know, but it's a press ticket, so hopefully I'll get a great seat. I saw Ivanov from a vertigo-inducing standing position at the back of Wyndham's, for just a tenner, on the last weekend. Even from that distance, after that many shows, watching the top of Branagh's head and missing some of the play through awkward sight-lines, I could still tell that the acting, the directing, the whole shebang was brilliant. I can't wait to be able to see that from a decent seat (in the stalls?).

It's going to be good.

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