The Writer

The Writer
Director: Blanche McIntyre
Writer: Ella Hickson
Cast: Romola Garai, Michael Gould, Lara Rossi, Samuel West
Seen on: 23.4.2018

Plot:
A young woman (Lara Rossi), an aspiring playwright, meets the director (Samuel West) of a play she just saw and tells him just what she though of it. He barely takes her comments seriously, believing her naive, but inspired by her fire offers her a job anyway. They both are the characters of the Writer’s (Romola Garai) new play. The Director (Michael Gould) tries to bring it to life, but doesn’t seem to get what it’s about, making the Writer uncomfortable. Her boyfriend (Samuel West) urges her to stay with it regardless since it’s a well-paying job. Somehow the Writer has to find the balance between her vision and patriarchal and capitalist demands.

The Writer is a great piece of theater. It’s insightful, demanding, weird, self-aware, femininst and gripping. Beautifully done.

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Eines langen Tages Reise in die Nacht [Long Day’s Journey Into Night]

Eines langen Tages Reise in die Nacht
Director: Andrea Breth
Writer: Eugene O’Neill
Cast: Sven-Eric Bechtolf, Corinna Kirchhoff, Alexander Fehling, August Diehl, Andrea Wenzl
Seen on: 15.4.2018

Plot:
James Tyrone (Sven-Eric Bechtolf) used to be a great actor, now he is mostly remembered for a singe role. His wife Mary (Corinna Kirchhoff) just returned from rehab for her morphine addiction. Their older son James (Alexander Fehling) drinks too much and their younger son Edmund (August Diehl) has tuberculosis. And on this day, the four of them come together and things just start to spill.

Eines langen Tages Reise in die Nacht works off a strong basis but the production doesn’t work – the mise-en-scène just didn’t tie everything together, rather the opposite.

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Macbeth

Macbeth
Director: Polly Findlay
Writer: William Shakespeare
Cast: Christopher Eccleston, Niamh Cusack, Luke Newberry, Raphael Sowole, Edward Bennett, David Acton, Mariam Haque
Seen on: 11.4.2018
[Here are my reviews of other takes on Macbeth.]

Plot:
Macbeth (Christopher Eccleston) and Banquo (Raphael Sowole) just fought successfully for King Duncan (David Acton) and are finally on their way home. In the woods, they meet three witches who predict, among other things, that Macbeth will become King. Spurred on by that prophecy and uncontent to just wait for it to come true, Macbeth and his wife (Niamh Cusack) hatch the plan to help things along when Duncan comes to visit. But murder comes with moral consequences – and it might not be the only thing necessary to make Macbeth King.

This take on Macbeth is interesting and mostly well done, but it doesn’t work in all regards, ultimately turning out weaker than I had hoped and expected from Findlay.

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Herr Tartüff [Tartuffe] (1925) + Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich / Frank Strobel

Herr Tartüff
Director: F.W. Murnau
Writer: Carl Mayer
Based on: Molière‘s play
Cast: Emil Jannings, Hermann Picha, Rosa Valetti, André Mattoni, Werner Krauss, Lil Dagover, Lucie Höflich, Camilla Horn
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by Giuseppe Becce, played be the Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich, conducted by Frank Strobel
Seen on: 20.3.2018
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Plot:
A young man (André Mattoni) suspects that his grandfather’s (Hermann Picha) housekeeper (Rosa Valetti) is trying to kill him to get to his money. So the young man tries to warn his by then isolated grandfather of her machinations by showing him a film. In that film, Tartüff (Emil Jannings) pretends to be a devout priest. He is staying with Herr Orgon (Werner Krauss) and his wife Elmire (Lil Dagover). Elmire is suspicious of Tartüff and his intentions, but Orgon doesn’t want to hear it…

Herr Tartüff is an enjoyable film and Becce’s music is really quite something. I wouldn’t have needed the entire thing to be longer than it was, but I had a good time throughout.

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IAMX

IAMX played a concert in the WUK in Vienna.
Seen on: 16.3.2018

I’ve seen IAMX a couple of times live already and I haven’t been listening much to their music recently. So when they announced a concert in Vienna, I was kind of torn between going and not going and when I decided that I wanted to go, the concert was sold out. So, I was ready to just not go when A.’s knee started fucking around and she couldn’t go and suddenly there was a ticket available. So I went after all and I have to say that I really enjoyed the show.

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Grease

Grease
Director: Christian Stadlhofer
Writer: Jim Jacobs, Warren Casey
Cast: Alexander Jahnke, Veronika Riedl, Chanelle Wyrsch
Seen on: 25.2.2018

Plot:
Sandy (Veronika Riedl) is starting at a new high school. She’s a nice girl who finds a connection with the wilder group of girls at the school. But she is really thrown when she realizes that Danny (Alexander Jahnke), the nice boy she met over the summer, also goes to that school. Only that the Danny she meets at school – the coolest boy there – is nothing like the sweet guy she met before.

I saw the stage version already a few years ago, though I could barely remember that production when I booked tickets for this one. I found this production of Grease entertaining, but it still doesn’t manage to eclipse the movie version.

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Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Director: Benedict Andrews
Writer: Tennessee Williams
Cast: Sienna Miller, Jack O’Connell, Colm Meaney, Lisa Palfrey, Hayley Squires, Brian Gleeson, Richard Hansell
Seen on: 22.2.2018

Plot:
Southern plantation patriarch Big Daddy (Colm Meaney) is celebrating his birthday and the remission of his cancer, and his son Brick (Jack O’Connell) and his wife Maggie (Sienna Miller) are getting ready for the party. More or less. Brick has a broken leg and is drunk already. Maggie worries about Brick’s brother Gooper and his wife Mae (Hayley Squires) who she believes are trying to cut them out of the estate. And that’s not the only tension in the family. And things aren’t exactly great between Brick and Maggie either.

I really enjoyed this production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, even if not on all counts. But it’s a strong version of an excellent play and a great evening of theater.

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Schlechte Partie [Bad Match]

Schlechte Partie aka Mädchen ohne Mitgift [Without a Dowry]
Director: Alvis Hermanis
Writer: Alexander Ostrovsky
Cast: Dörte Lyssewski, Marie-Luise Stockinger, Peter Simonischek, Martin Reinke, Michael Maertens, Nicholas Ofczarek, Fabian Krüger, Hermann Scheidleder, Hans Dieter Knebel, Christoph Kohlbacher, Peta Klotzberg
Seen on: 4.2.2018

Plot:
Larissa (Marie-Luise Stockinger) is beautiful and if she had any dowry, she would surely be able to choose her suitor. Unfortunately she doesn’t. Karandyschew (Michael Maertens) wants to marry her anyway. But then Paratow (Nicholas Ofczarek) shows up. He and Larissa used to be engaged until Paratow broke it off. Larissa is stull very much in love with him. Now that he’s back, she gets her hopes up once more. But recently broke Paratow is set to marry a rich woman the next day. That doesn’t mean he can’t have a little fun with Larissa, though.

Schlechte Partie looks lush, but that’s about the only really good thing about it. It’s too long, too male and too tame.

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Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed [The Adventures of Prince Achmed] (1926) + Peter Rosmanith and Otto Lechner

Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed
Director: Lotte Reiniger, Carl Koch
Writer: Lotte Reiniger
Based on: One Thousand and One Nights
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by: Peter Rosmanith and Otto Lechner
Seen on: 11.12.2017
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Plot:
A sorcerer creates a flying horse. Intrigued, the Caliph wants to buy it, but the sorcerer doesn’t want money for it – he wants Princess Dinarsade. Her brother Achmed tries to save her, but the sorcerer lures him on the horse and they fly off. It takes Achmed a while to learn to control it, but once he does, he is ready to have quite a few adventures it takes him to.

Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed is probably the oldest (surviving) full length animation film and it is obvious how painstakingly it was made. The result is impressive, even if the story itself isn’t. The incongruous accompaniment with accordion music was a surprisingly good fit, making the evening absolutely enjoyable.

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