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

Jots from a Small Apt.

Largely @ Liberty

Rethinking Life

Art and the philosophy of life

Croatia, the War, and the Future

Ina Vukic - Croatia: people, politics, history, economy, transition from communism to democracy

lynz real cooking

lynz real life

Pride's Purge

an irreverent look at UK politics

Pride's Purge

an irreverent look at UK politics

Tropical Affair

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

barneyhoskyns.com

The home of writer Barney Hoskyns' books, poems, photos and more.

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Blog magazine for lovers of health, food, books, music, humour and life in general

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

A trip through life with fingers crossed and eternal optimism.

Left Handed Lottie

Drawing and painting on an ipad

Atelier 88

More than just rooms

The Sleeping Hare

Art by Lottie Nevin

Pacific Paratrooper

This WordPress.com site is Pacific War era information

beetleypete

The musings of a Londoner, now living in Norfolk

Vegan Books For Children

books from Little Chicken, Honestly Books and Violet's Vegan Comics

Catherine Meyrick

Historical Fiction with a touch of Romance

Silver Screenings

an irreverent blog of old movies

My Life as an Artist (2)

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

Violet's Vegan Comics

Virtual Vegan Comics for Children

Two Rooms Plus Utilities

Written from the heart, this is the unadulterated truth of live with multiple chronic illnesses and being housebound. My life open for you to follow. Please join me

kickingthecat

How current policy is little more than kicking the cat....

Matt's History Blog

Hopefully interesting snippets and thoughts

David Hencke

Westminster and Whitehall news investigations

Notes from the U.K.

Exploring the spidery corners of a culture and the weird stuff that tourist brochures ignore.

BRIDGET WHELAN writer

August is archive month. Posts from the past

P.A. Moed

Creative Exploration in Words and Pictures

creartfuldodger

collage/mixed media artist

My Dad Is A Goldfish

Caring for a demented dad

Scope's Blog

Scope exists to make this country a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else. Until then, we'll be here.

Art Studio of a Country Woman

Painting My World with My Heart

e-Tinkerbell

Literature, books , sport and whatever intrigues me

AT A GENTLE PACE - Bridget Whelan's lifestyle travel blog

for people who would try anything except whitewater rafting (probably)

reviewdonkey

My personal opinions about.......stuff (as if you care!)

A Teacher's Reflections

Thirty Years of Wonder

The Theatre Guild Newsletter

Celebrating 98 years on Broadway!

Pen and Pension

Immerse yourself in Georgian and Regency England

Scleroderma Guy

It's Not A Life Sentence. It's A Life. Sentence

Lives Our Ancestors Left Behind

What were their stories for us?

REDFLAGFLYING

Dictatorship is good. If the Dictator is me.

J.M. Weselby @ Magpie Creative Writing Services

because all writers are magpies at heart...

LibDem Fischer

The world of politics

MovieBabble

The Casual Way to Discuss Movies

CineMuseFilms

Freelance Film Critic

%d bloggers like this: