I went to see the Kneehigh Theatre platform (talk) at the National yesterday - Emma Rice and Tom Morris were interviewed by critic Mark Shenton about their co-adaptation of A Matter of Life and Death, which Emma Rice also directed.
The last talk they did was when Tom Morris interviewed Emma Rice about Tristan & Yseult, a Kneehigh show which was a huge success. These platforms attract a mixture of theatre students and old people. As we filed out of the auditorium afterwards, the place was buzzing - although the older people were mostly talking about the daring Tom Morris had shown by wearing a pair of shorts which revealed his very white legs.
Last night's talk was a more subdued affair. Tom Morris was fully clothed and both he and Emma Rice seemed conscious of the less than enthusiastic reviews for the show, which have provoked a bit of a theatrical spat. (You can read about the spat here on West End Whingers blog and here on David Eldridge's blog)
If you haven't seen a Kneehigh show before, it's worth going to see A Matter of Life and Death. I disagree with the line of reasoning that says that if you're unfamiliar with physical theatre then you won't 'get' Kneehigh. I'd put it the other way - that if you've seen all their work, then you begin to see some of the same tricks crop up. An old boyfriend of mine used to say to me, rather pointedly, 'familiarity breeds contempt'. I wouldn't put it nearly so harshly in this case although I must admit I have never quite recaptured that rush of joy in watching subsequent shows that I felt when I saw Tristan & Yseult.
Even so, I'm always knocked out by the inventiveness and enthusiasm of their productions. I'll be going to see whatever they do next.