Landscape with Weapon - Reviews (possible spoilers)

2007 production at National Theatre

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Landscape with Weapon - Reviews (possible spoilers)

Postby chatterbox » Thu Apr 05, 2007 11:51 am

I thought it would be good to have a place to review and chat about the play itself without spoiling it for those who haven't yet been to see it.... over to you!

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Postby chatterbox » Thu Apr 05, 2007 3:48 pm

Ok, I'll put in my bit then - I saw the second preview performance, so they may have changed it since - looking forward to going back to see it again!!.

I thought putting the play in a small space made it intimate, but also a bit claustrophobic, which was really effective, especially in the second half.

Tom Hollander was fantastic, starting off as confident and sure of himself, down to the insecure wreck he became in the second half. In the preview I saw, the way he was playing with his clothes when he was describing what had happened to him was just heartbreaking. He must have been worn out afterwards.

I really believed in Ned and Dan's relationship as brothers, even though they look nothing like each other. They had that slightly edgy way of talking to each other - familiar but competitive. The fight was wonderful - my boys fight exactly like that!! I wondered later who was the older brother -anybody else know?

I thought Julian played Dan as a really believable character. The strutting, but defensive wideboy stuff of the botox, then claiming the moral high ground, which all fell apart in the second half. I thought he made the dentistry bit with Ned in the second half more effective with his uncomfortable body language - I really wasn't sure what he was up to, plus, it was far too close to those scenes in Marathon Man for my liking.
Liked the way he gradually folded under the pressure of the interview with Brooks - did anyone else think he seemed even smaller and skinnier in that suit at the end of that scene?

A word or two about Pippa. I thought she played her character as fairly straightforward, with no surprises - focused purely on the commercial side of the business, and she did it very well. Forceful from the start, which made it all the more effective when she brought in Brooks, and stepped back! As for Brooks, he really was strangely likeable at the start, and everyone laughed at an early quip (can't remember what he said) before it all went downhill.

Brilliantly written - the dialogue was really believable, although quite dense, and I couldn't sleep the night after, thinking it all through. Although at the interval we were saying that it was all a little obvious in the morality, it got a lot more complex in that second half, and I'm not sure that I've undone all of the knots yet. There weren't many audible laughs in the second half, although there were a number of potentially funny scenes, where it just needed one person to laugh to tip it over. I wondered what they were going to to with that in later versions - signpost the laughs more or keep it low key?

Best bits? The comedy stuff at the start (entryphone etc), then the fight, then that final scene when they start to try to pick up the pieces, but you really don't believe it.

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Postby faeriequeen » Thu Apr 05, 2007 4:38 pm

I have a very long and rather spoilery review of my evening (including photos) here:
http://users.livejournal.com/_faeriequeen/106144.html

I tried to do a proper review in the first half but I don't think it really makes any sense! I really need to see the play again to make proper sense of it, or buy the script.

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Postby chatterbox » Thu Apr 05, 2007 4:43 pm

Just read your live journal entry faeriequeen. I agree with you that you need to see it a few times, and I am busy trying to rearrange my schedule and bank balance to go again!!

Love the photos!!!

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Postby LinkaNeo » Thu Apr 05, 2007 6:18 pm

Whooo, you met him! Go you! I want to see the dashed play =(
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Postby f_d_p » Thu Apr 05, 2007 7:21 pm

Great reviews, faeriequeen and chatterbox! I don't think I could top those!
Love your pics faeriequeen! Good on you for asking all those questions. Isn't Tom Hollander lovely? :D

I must add a line which I keep remembering which Brooks said after saying that Ned should fly with EasyJet because "We're not paying."
Also I must agree with faeriequeen that the fight was a highlight...hee :wink:

Hopefully I'll go again, and I think I'll buy the script because the writing was fantastic.
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feeling happy today

Postby lucie » Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:53 pm

Great reviews and pictures. Not being able to get near theatre it is nice to hear and see that J. is doing ok. Thank you and keep reviewing!
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Postby faeriequeen » Thu Apr 05, 2007 11:04 pm

f_d_p wrote:Great reviews, faeriequeen and chatterbox! I don't think I could top those!
Love your pics faeriequeen! Good on you for asking all those questions. Isn't Tom Hollander lovely? :D

I must add a line which I keep remembering which Brooks said after saying that Ned should fly with EasyJet because "We're not paying."
Also I must agree with faeriequeen that the fight was a highlight...hee :wink:

Hopefully I'll go again, and I think I'll buy the script because the writing was fantastic.


Yeah Tom is fab! Shame he didn't stick around as long as Julian did though...I really wanted to ask him about Cambridge Spies.
I think my fave line from the play has to be the primary school teacher one. :D

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Postby f_d_p » Fri Apr 06, 2007 4:38 pm

faeriequeen wrote:Yeah Tom is fab! Shame he didn't stick around as long as Julian did though...I really wanted to ask him about Cambridge Spies.
I think my fave line from the play has to be the primary school teacher one. :D

I think Tom is now one of my favourite people.
Ahh yes :D I also like the lines about Dan buying a jeep.
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Postby chatterbox » Fri Apr 06, 2007 5:41 pm

Snitched this link from the other thread (thanks Rita)

http://arts.guardian.co.uk/theatre/drama/reviews/story/0,,2051638,00.html

It says that Ned is too naive, and according to Rosie the Times says the same. What do you think?

I think it is a justified comment, but for me it was balanced by his general air of unworldliness, and I did believe in Ned as a character. I've been thinking about it and he must be the younger brother. Also, people often don't really think about the implications of the work that they do every day do they? I think we are supposed to link Dan's casual attitude to his own moral shortcomings to those of Ned. As far as being naive in thinking he could keep intellectual rights, he had been treated so well until then by his employers, he assumed that would continue. Clearly unrealistic, of course, but it still hung together for me.

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Postby faeriequeen » Fri Apr 06, 2007 6:37 pm

Yeah I agree with you chatterbox. I think the way that he came on at the start particularly highlighted his "head in the clouds" character...and I felt that he'd perhaps got so caught up in the development process that he'd forgotten that there would ever be an end to it. And I suppose inventors like him never really think their work is complete and that they can always improve something, so when things seemed to actually come to a head it was a bit of a shock for him.

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Postby Spitting Bunny » Sat Apr 07, 2007 2:07 pm

I remember people like Ned doing researt at university - so caught up in the wonder of their breakthroughs and dedicated to their work that to them the implications are almost secondary to sheer brilliance of what they are doing.

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Postby chatterbox » Sun Apr 08, 2007 11:01 am

ch1ch1 wrote:This is from yesterday's Telegraph (07.04.07). Not the best review Joe Penhall's ever received for his work, I'm sure but the words "uniformly excellent" used to describe the performances make me happy and very, very proud of Julian! :lv:

http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r213 ... review.jpg


Thanks for uploading this ch1ch1

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Postby chatterbox » Sun Apr 08, 2007 12:00 pm


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Postby chatterbox » Sun Apr 08, 2007 5:23 pm

And here is the link to the Independent Review (no picture online though :( )
http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/theatre/reviews/article2432971.ece

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Postby Spitting Bunny » Sun Apr 08, 2007 11:16 pm

generally seems to have gone down well

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Postby chatterbox » Mon Apr 09, 2007 9:07 am


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Postby ch1ch1 » Mon Apr 09, 2007 10:36 am

Thanks, chatterbox. Looks like Ned's naivety seems to be a sticking point with the critics.

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Postby curlybeach » Mon Apr 09, 2007 3:27 pm

Okay, I read a small review of the play in today's Express, but I can't, for the life of me, find it! Sorry comrades, I'll keep looking. Until it is found, I managed to grab a picture of the photo they used with the article, which is really quite funny to look at ...


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Postby ch1ch1 » Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:06 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol: Splendid! Thanks, curlybeach - I've actually been hanging upside down trying to see how they look "upright"!!!!! :rofl:


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