Rogues & Vagabonds

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…

Archive Review • AUGUSTA • Bare Boards…and a passion • New End Theatre, Hampstead • 2008

New End Theatre, Hampstead [Wikipedia]

New End Theatre, Hampstead [Wikipedia]

Augusta, Alan Franks’s new play, which is at the New End Theatre Hampstead [no longer extant], is that seemingly rare breed nowadays, a quintessentially English play with an international cast. Set in the penthouse apartment of a successful writer of biographies, Augusta explores the relationship between a biographer and his fractured muse. It is an engaging, very witty play with that heady mix of comedy and dark, dark tragedy.

Patrick, whose writing quite literally furnishes his apartment – his plush bathroom courtesy of a book on the Rothschilds, his less-than-plush kitchen a book on Heseltine – has invited two of his ongoing projects to join him for an afternoon of canapés and candid conversation. One, Alfredo, a relatively recent project whose background appears to be a story of banana-republic rags-to-riches, the other, Augusta, an artist with whom Patrick has been professionally involved for over twenty years. The chance meeting between Alfredo and Augusta is not, however, all it seems.

Add to this the belated and unexpected arrival of Augusta’s young musician son Daniel and the stage is set for revelation, recrimination, retribution and, possibly, even respect. Patrick appears to succeed with a personal plan many years in the making.

Jonathan Rigby, an actor who made such an impression on West End audiences as Kenneth Horne in Round the Horne…Revisited, gives an excellently dead-pan delivery of Franks’s droll dialogue. Rigby’s characterization of the somewhat pompous Patrick, a public-school educated wordsmith whose Englishness appears in such stark contrast with the volatile Latinos he invites to his home, is warm and confident in its easy affectation. Glib one-liners trip off Patrick’s tongue as he attempts to calm the troubled water that he himself has conjured.

Patrick’s first guest, the sleazy Alfredo, is played with great gusto by George Savvides. Alfredo’s self-importance, his inexcusable vanity, plays easily into the hands of his biographer. With the arrival of Augusta, however, Alfredo’s true colours as a womanizing philanderer are blazoned for all to see.

Antonia Frering, a Brazilian-born actor who, after many years in Paris, has now returned to Rio de Janeiro to star in a Brazilian soap opera, plays the tortured soul Augusta. Frering adds a physical beauty and emotional frailty to Augusta, whose life experience explains her professional artistic drive. Her motivation is the son she has nurtured through many hard years, the godson of Patrick.

Augusta’s son Daniel is, perhaps, the most sympathetic character in the play. James Palmer’s Daniel is endearing and believable, torn as he is between love for his mother and facing up to certain realities of life. Daniel must now confront a truth he knows will hurt his mother but which, ultimately, confirms his own identity and status. Palmer excels in this difficult role, drawing every nuance from the situation and the dialogue.

Directed by Chrys Salt, and a production by ‘Bare Boards…and a passion’, Augusta is seventy-five minutes of witty, energetic dialogue. On a tiny stage, the cast explore such deep issues that it can only briefly touch on the pain which underlies its premise. It is a play which should best be considered as an introduction to understanding problems endemic in South American politics for the last sixty years. Thought-provoking and witty, with an Englishness all of its own.

© Kevin Quarmby 2008

Originally published on R&V on 12-10-08

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Enogastronomista

Food & Wine

Coffee fuels my photography!

~ my everyday life through the lens of my camera ~

Polly's Paper Studio

Vintage Inspired Paper Crafts & Digital Design

Life on La Lune

A journey through life in Southwest France

Vanessa Couchman

Historical Fiction with a French Flavour

Disability & Determination

It isn't being John Malkovich, but it is being me

Nicholas Andriani Rankin

Academic, Cultural Critic, & Narrative Designer: Researching Fandom Through Literature, Folklore, Game Studies, Pop Culture & Visual Media. Instructional Designer.

Joe Ruggiero at Home

Daily Reflections from My Home and Garden

Mitch Teemley

The Power of Story

Genealogy Jude

Unlocking the Door to Your Past

COOKING ON A BOOTSTRAP

by Jack Monroe, bestselling author of 'A Girl Called Jack'

Stevie Turner

Realist, writer, reader, reviewer and rocker.

The Stuff They Won't Include in Any Tourist Guide: The Real England

The Real England is a concise, direct, and not-so-gentle window into the depths of the leftovers of the world’s once greatest empire. It is told from the perspective of one lone (or not so lone) long term visitor. It informs one of the dregs of the country and helps to explain quaint British oddities such as the crack addicted chav.

S.O.U.L. S-P-A-C-E

Artists, Writers and Visionaries Blog on the Unique and Ordinary

The Lady Sews

Collected works and other excuses from a textile obssessive

coelsblog

Defending Scientism

@KellyOSullivan

has random thoughts

Criminal Historian

Working with dead people

JEMSBOOKS

Writing - Loving What I Do and Doing What I Love!

Noir

the darker side to sedge808

Off Center & Not Even

Photographs, music and writing about daily life. Contact: elcheo@swcp.com

Reina Cottier Art

Creative Intuitive from New Zealand

Tenafly Road

Family Saga Fiction by Adrienne Morris

johnrieber

Burgers, Books, Music, Movies, Offbeat Adventures & Pop Culture!

Etan Smallman

Freelance journalist

Assemblage Art

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013...

Candia Comes Clean

Candid cultural comments from the Isles of Wonder

blackwings666

Horror, Science Fiction, Comic Books and More

The Wandering Empath

Traveling the World Through Others

I didn't have my glasses on....

A trip through life with fingers crossed and eternal optimism.

penwithlit

Art, Literature, Poetry, Politics and a little History

Jet Eliot

Travel and Wildlife Adventures

Judith Barrow

Writer & Author

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Tropical Affair

Observations of the illusion through the eyes of wonder...

Doodlewash®

Adventures in Watercolor Painting and Sketching, Watercolour Magazine, with Charlie O'Shields

Life in Russia

The Bridge between two countries

London Life With Liz

A lifestyle blog with a little bit of everything.

Brotherly Love

A personal exploration of autism from a brother’s perspective, including family relationships, philosophy, neuroscience, mental health history and ethics

Alex Raphael

Entertainment, travel and lifestyle blog

Teagan's Books

Founder of the Three Things Method of Storytelling

%d bloggers like this: