Saturday, 13 April 2013

the captain of kopenick

On Saturday 16 February we got day seats for The Captain of Kopenick at the NT Olivier, starring Anthony Sher. Written by Carl Zuckmayer (German, most famous as author of Blue Angel; this written the year after the release of that film, 1931), in a new English version by Ron Hutchinson. Bethan liked it more than I did, but I found it rather disappointing, an insubstantial comedy unable to bear the weight of pre-Nazi political import which was being placed upon it. It was interesting that the programme notes referred to it being considered as not very political at the time, and you did wonder how much of the import was as a result of the modern translation, and much more in fact the feeling that even in the modern translation the import was not in the text at all but in the inter-scene stuff, the music and the staging. The publicity did lead you to expect something much more about how the main character puts on this uniform and then people believe him and do his bidding in an unthinking way (this bit based on a real pre-WWI story), but the uniform came quite late in proceedings, and just seemed to be part of the farce rather than the central idea or theme (the quest for papers to prove he existed seemed the bigger theme). It was perfectly well acted, though I don't remember any especially good performances, but I just felt like it had been puffed up and didn't merit such a revival. I certainly don't remember it being particularly funny, or insightful.

The first page of reviews. Telegraph (3/5 stars, says similar things to me - in face so do most of the subsequent ones). Guardian. Standard. Independent. Economist. Londonist. West End Whingers (which reminds me that Ron Hutchinson wrote Moonlight and Magnolias, about the writing of Gone With The Wind, which I enjoyed at the Tricycle). What's On Stage. FT.