La revue de presse

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La revue de presse

Message  Matthieu le Lun 29 Déc 2008 - 18:10

Arts: A new lesson in politics (The Independent, vendredi 16 octobre 1998).
The strong company atmosphere is also the perfect way to predispose an audience to the extreme sociability of the good-natured libertine Charles Surface, here understood to be played by Sheridan. Not that Matthew Macfadyen needs any help. His performance is a masterpiece of comic charm. Even in the trickiest situations, his tipsy Charles always feels the need to lie flat on the floor, a position he assumes with an exquisite matter- of-factness as though it were the most natural thing in the world.
Theatre: Strange days at the School for Scandal (The Independent, dimanche 18 octobre 1998).
With important boundaries blurred between private and public behaviour the comedy has to rely on heavy-handed stage business. Matthew Macfadyen's Charles bounces Sir Oliver up and down on his knee like a ventriloquist's dummy. Macfadyen swings on to the stage on a rope, hanging purposelessly in the air while the scene progresses. I enjoyed the servants running upstairs to the balcony to deliver news about there being people in the streets, at the door or down below. Crazy servants: they run up an extra flight of stairs in order to give a urgent message.
RSC in new school of thought (Evening Standard, 15 octobre 1998).
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Look and learn

Message  Matthieu le Mer 7 Jan 2009 - 9:47

Par Patrick Carnegy (The Spectator, 24 octobre 1998).
School for Scandal

(Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford)

There's no problem about the topicality of The School for Scandal, with which the RSC opens its winter season at Stratford. You only have to play it straight to see that the problems people have in discovering the truth about each other never change. Sheridan's late-18th-century need to spring reality from Reputation, spin and scandal is ever with us. Tireless scourge of priggish rectitude, he's also a firm believer that wild oats are an indispensable ingredient in the life worth living.

As abductor of a ravishingly beautiful young girl, impetuous duellist, theatrical entrepreneur, dramatist and Member of Parliament, Sheridan endured more than his fair share of assassination. His genius lay in transporting his rumbustious adventuring into his plays, using the magic of theatre to ridicule his critics into irrelevance while not failing to address larger political issues. Garrick acutely noted The School for Scandal's capacity to produce not only `Bursts of Laughter but an uncommon Agitation of Spirit in the Audience'.

Declan Donnellan's production goes for it in period costume, resisting any temptation to dumb down arcane allusion or update the text. You could do your GCSE on this staging and sail through with flying colours - not that there's anything academic about Donnellan's approach. It's boisterously theatrical from start to finish, playing this up with the old strategem of showing a company `at rehearsal' on a bare, undressed stage, performing as much for each other as for anyone else.

Nick Ormerod's set is a theatre within a theatre, surrounding the acting space at the sides and back with flymen's galleries. These accommodate a handful of musicians to help the show along, also serving as vantage point for those actors not immediately involved but whom it's handy to have in view so that characters referred to in the dialogue can be quickly introduced to the audience. No one can do anything without being overlooked or overheard by a thousand eyes and ears. At stage left there's a prompt corner from which the action is observed by a dashing blond buck, identified in the programme as a supernumerary Prince of Wales and who's evidently on the best of terms with the actresses.

If there are stars in the cast - Kenneth Cranham as Teazle and Celia Imrie as Mrs Candour among them - there are no star performances, and indeed it's fair to construe that as a strength in what is a virtuoso ensemble production. The physicality of the characterisation and action is an unfailing delight, Charles Surface swooping in as Tarzan and forever stretching out on the floor, his brother Joseph wrestling Teazle to the ground to silence him. Matthew Macfadyen was irresistibly winsome as Charles, Jason O'Mara suavely persuasive as Joseph.

One of Donnellan's best moments is to play Maria's attempt to eavesdrop a conclave of scandalmongers as pure mime. A babble of fortissimo innuendo is punctuated by the subito piano of a whisper-ensemble from which neither Maria nor anyone else can catch anything but excited gestures and the occasional exclamation. Something, however, seemed to misfire - a first-night accident? - in the timing of the crucial moment when Charles tumbles the famous screen to the ground and with it the Reputations of Lady Teazle and the immaculate Joseph (to say nothing of the Enlightenment World so decoratively mapped on the surface of the screen).

Emma Fielding's Lady T. has a rustic Irish accent peeping through her varnish as a lady of Fashion. She looked exquisite and might have stepped straight from a Gainsborough portrait of Elizabeth Linley, Sheridan's singer-wife. Where Miss Fielding falls short is in the relish and projection of her character, giving us too little teazle (a herb `with prickly leaves and flower-heads' as the dictionary has it) and too much of a country mouse munching her words.

But for the most part Donnellan and his cast are superbly in tune with the musicality of Sheridan's play. One of history's great might-have-beens is that Mozart came so close to setting it rather than Figaro as his next opera after Entfuhrung. (Schroder, the `German Garrick' who'd introduced Scandal to Vienna's anglophile stage, had been asked `to look around for a good libretto and to give it to me to compose'.) Certainly the play's richly contrapuntal texture, structure and headlong pace call for a rhythmically tight performance, and that's what it mostly receives. False entries and fluffed notes will sort themselves out. The principal themes of Surface hypocrisy unmasked as vice, and of Surface depravity unmasked as virtue burrow their way up through the self-imploding crescendo of sneer and slander into triumphant recapitulation.
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Plenty to smile about with malicious scandaongers

Message  Matthieu le Mer 14 Jan 2009 - 12:09

Par Richard Williamson (Sunday Mercury - Birmingham, 18 octobre 1998).
BIG LAUGH... Emma Fielding and Kenneth Cranham in The School for Scandal

SHOCK! Horror! Scandal! Peep behind the curtains of public life and what do we find but illicit sex, betrayal and moral corruption.

But there's nothing new under the sun because Richard Brinsley Sheridan knew all about that stuff when he wrote The School for Scandal more than 200 years ago.

Declan Donnellan's bright and lively new production at The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, doesn't lay it on with a trowel but you are unlikely to forget the enduring relevance of the message.

For one thing, it is staged as a play-within-a play with The Prince of Wales in the audience - and nobody knows more about private affairs made public than the Royals.

The play centres on the activities of a clique of society rumour-mongers who deal in scandal, malicious halruths and downright lies, not caring what damage they cause to their victims.

Naturally, the prying press get a sideswipe or two for peddling salacious stories.

But as the play unfolds it is soon clear that the feckless rake Charles Surface, target of the rumours, is a fundamentally decent bloke. It's his priggish, apparently-respectable brother and the gang of gossips who are corrupt hypocrites.

All of which gives the perfect platform for some fine ensemble playing, especially from Deborah Findlay as Lady Sneerwell and Celia Imrie as Mrs Candour.

But best of all is a multi-faceted Lady Teazle, courtesy of the excellent Emma Fielding, and a genuinely funny Charles Surface from Matthew McFadyen.

It's a show with plenty of laughs, a sure eye to make sure the barbs hit home and sufficient momentum to overcome the odd blemish.

The School for Scandal plays until Saturday.
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Re: La revue de presse

Message  Luce le Mar 1 Sep 2009 - 7:08

Quelques extraits des critiques sur le personnage de Charles Surface et le jeu de Matthew : Very Happy

Class act is over too soon by Charles Spencer (The Daily Telegraph, 16/10/1998)
All of which means that the show is sometimes short of laughs, particularly in the first half. There are, however,moments of pure comic joy. The great screen scene, one of the most infallible mechanisms in British theatre, is played with a loving attention to detail, and Donnellan movingly captures the play’s investigation of appearance and reality, its continual “trial” of the human heart.
Matthew Macfadyen plays Charles as a hilariously slurry, silly ass, so drunk for most of the play that he has to keep assuming a horizontal position, yet somehow never leaving any doubt about his character’s underlying decency.

(...) by Jeremy Kingston (The Times, 16/10/1998)
The balconies not only give a spaciousness to the production, but Charles Surface the rakish but good brother descends from one by rope for his long-delayed entrance. The genial voice of Matthew Macfadyen imparts a generous tone to the whole play thereafter.

Fresh interpretation and a sprightly start from the RSC by Michael Billington (The Guardian, 15/10/1998)
Donnellan also makes the rivalry between the Surface brothers much more complex than a straight contest between virtue and vice. Matthew Macfadyen, in particular, plays the “good” Charles Surface as a neurotic rakehell surrounded by offence, somehow anti-Semitic, yahoos and given to lying prostrate in moment of crisis : if he is instantly forgiven by his uncle for refusing to sell the old man’s portrait you fell it is more whimsical vanity on the latter's part than a testament to Charles decency.

Sex, money and feigned morality by Robert Hanks (The Financial Times, 17/10/1998)
...the open-hearted, drunk Charles Surface (Matthew Macfadyen-two gold stars) dandling his aged uncle Oliver like a ventriloquist's dummy.

Splendid Sheridan just cracks along by James Goss (Oxford Times, 23/10/1998)
The production itself is extremely lively. A superb cast is led by Celia Imrie and Kenneth Cranham. Imrie highlights every scene she is in, only matched by Matthew Macfadyen as the loveable rogue Charles Surface, a performance so languid that he spends most of the evening lying on the floor, sighing out his lines.

A School for elegant fun by Richards Edmonds (Birmingham Post, ?/10/1998)
But giving Ms Findley a close run for the theatrical laurels comes Matthew Macfadyen’s Charles Surface. Mr Macfadyen takes the celebrated geniality of the character to new heights. He and the “lads” heist up the play with a jollyboy chorus at the opening of the evening thus serving to establish Charles as a rugger hearty who roars about the place fitting the lines to this marvellous concept as though they were natural speech. In a general way, the actor gives us the best Charles Surface I have ever seen in many years in reviewing this beloved play.
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Re: La revue de presse

Message  Matthieu le Jeu 21 Jan 2010 - 18:13

Whirl of satire (The Stage, 22 octobre 1998). Very Happy
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Re: La revue de presse

Message  Matthieu le Sam 27 Nov 2010 - 21:24

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Re: La revue de presse

Message  Luce le Dim 9 Juin 2013 - 17:13

RSC in new school of thought (London Standard Evening, 15 octobre 1998) par Nicholas De Jongh.

Quand je lis le nom du critique, je repense toujours à la plaisanterie entre Matthew Macfadyen et Michael Gambon (ici) Wink
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Re: La revue de presse

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