Stunning piece of theatre on the swingin’ South Bank

Managed a sneaky evening in London with Mr C this weekend (hoorah for grandparents!), and we blew some of the theatre tokens we’ve had for ages on a couple of seats at the National Theatre to see Everyman.

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It’s a new adaptation of a play that first saw the stage in the 15th century – so there’s some history behind it – but Carol Ann Duffy (whose poetry I love) has breathed some serious new life into the story of a man who has everything he could possibly want.  Or thinks he does until Death (who turns out to be a rather jolly Irish chap in this production) turns up and asks him to account for his life just before it ends.

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Sounds a bit grim?  It was anything but.  We laughed loads and I almost cried at one point.  And it was shocking, loud, a bit sweary (no, actually it was extremely sweary) and very, very clever.  The choreography, particularly at the start, of the movement of the actors on the stage was so fast and furious I could barely keep up – and was absolutely stunning.

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Everyman – or Ev to his friends – was played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, who was nominated for an Oscar for his role in Twelve Years a Slave, and was entirely believable as a bloke who’s done well for himself, almost too well, who loves his stuff too much and parties much too hard.  And his breakdown when faced with his own mortality was startling and moving and agonising and loads more besides.

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I’d tell you who God is, too, but that would sort of spoil the surprise.

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The production winds up at the end of this month – so this is a go-and-see-it-right-now review.  There are tickets left (although I have no idea why) so if you can, snap ‘em up.  It was an astonishing piece of theatre.

And it’s the perfect excuse for a night out in London.  Mr C and I took full advantage of all the lovely stuff going on along the South Bank – feasted on street food and craft beer beforehand, wandered through the grown-up fun fair that is the London Wonder Ground afterwards.  Brilliant night.

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And I got Mr C to pose under the great big finger outside the theatre….

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nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/everyman

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