Rogues & Vagabonds

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

Archive Review • AUGUSTA • New End Theatre, Hampstead • 2008

New_End_Theatre,_Hampstead,_London,_England-27June2008

Augusta, Alan Franks’s new play, which is at the New End Theatre Hampstead, 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

Advertisements

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 )

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

artbymandy

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

juniordoctorblog.com

pulseless electrical activity.

The Observation Post

mistermuse, half-poet and half-wit

Wild Star Landing

Poetry, Facts, Fiction, Inspired by Travel, Art, Science, Nature & Philosophy

Turtle Bunbury

Historian * Author * Presenter * Speaker * Guide

Fierce Writing

Not so much Rage Against the Machine as Slightly Peeved the Taps Won't Work

Victorian Footnotes

Bringing back the forgotten

Etan Smallman

Freelance journalist

Michael Ehrhardt

Permanenter Ausstellungsraum

jessicanorrie

Writing about writing; words about the world

It's all in the Past!

Writing about current events from a historical perspective.

Mrinalini Raj

I LEAVE YOUR ROAD TO WALK ON MY GRASS.

History Quirks

The Casual Past

vintageinkstand

Words and images from the past

janiceduke.wordpress.com/

The adventures of Janice Duke and her Magical Travelling Paint Box

Caz Greenham...Storyteller...Author...

Creator and Author of The Adventures of Eric Seagull 'Storyteller' series

Movies From The Silent Era

A repository for movies from the silent era

Art Universal

Art as a Sensory

Henry Brooke

Musings, Memories and Miscellanea

Matthew Toffolo's Summary

Daily summary of the life/movie world.

When Angels Fly

Author site of S. Jackson & A. Raymond

off the leash

History, technology, books and baseball.

FLOW ART STATION

THE ENLIGHTENED ART MAGAZINE

Writer Site

Memoir, poetry, & writing theory

hungryfaces

faces gourmet world of fashion, design and art

From guestwriters

Lifestyle magazine and Readers Digest

The Vintage Toy Advertiser

Suffering ink-stained fingers and occasional staple wounds to bring you wonderful images of vintage toy ads and other retro paperworks

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

scribblesofstageandscreen

Theatre, Film and TV.

Smart History Blog

Compelling Stories of Russian History

Newcastle Photography

Photography Blog by Chris Egon Searle

Brave and Reckless

Reclaiming my inner badass at 50

Gretchen Del Rio's Art Blog

Watercolor paintings

Today in History

"Tell me a fact, and I'll learn. Tell me a truth, and I'll believe. But tell me a story, and it will live in my heart forever." - Steve Sabol, NFL Films

The Architect & I

The Nazis assigned him a number but I wanted the world to know his name.

Basic Archaeology

Archaeology News, Interesting Facts and More

Travalanche

Being a web log for the observations of actor, author, cartoonist, comedian, critic, director, humorist, journalist, master of ceremonies, performance artist, playwright, producer, publicist, public speaker, songwriter, and variety booker Trav S.D.

1stangel.co.uk/loisbryanphotography/

LOIS BRYAN Photography and Digital Art

vixlowthion

A Green future for the Isle of Wight

TOKIDOKI (NOMAD)

a world travel photo blog by Jackie Hadel

swo8

Music means something

%d bloggers like this: