Scenes From a Marriage – St James’ Theatre – Review

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The first thing to mention is that when you see those competitions on Twitter to “retweet this for a chance to win free tickets…” that you do. That’s how I came to see this play last night. So thanks to St James’ Theatre for the chance to see this intense play.

The St James’ Theatre has now been going for a year and I’m pleased I got to visit this new London theatre. My only complaint is that yet again the theatre seating seems to have been an afterthought. Cramped leg room and thin uncomfortable seats really should be a thing of the past, especially when you’re designing a theatre from scratch, a real shame and wasted opportunity.

The "new kid on the block" of London Theatres.

The “new kid on the block” of London Theatres.

I had reservations about this play. A week that can only be described as manic at work meant I was tired and not sure a play dealing with the disintegration of a marriage was how I wanted to spend my Friday night with my wife. As regular readers to my blog know, this is a state of mind I’m often in prior to going to the theatre! I love it when theatre surprises and refreshes me. I’m pleased to report Scenes from a Marriage did just that.

My wife and I celebrated 10 years of marriage this year and so I think it’s fair to say I had a good insight into the themes and scenes being played out. I’m not going to comment on them though, as I don’t want people misconstruing or reading into my comments/thoughts/feelings/experiences that are not there.

Suffice to say, this is a no holds barred and potent look at marriage. It is also one of the few plays where I’ve seen the audience truly drawn in, and involved in the action on stage. There were audible gasps, and comments throughout, not because the audience were being rude, but because we were so engaged. Usually at the interval I want to stay, this time I had to stay as I was so intrigued to see what would happen.

To say Mark Bazeley and Olivia Williams performances were "legendary" is no hyperbole.

To say Mark Bazeley and Olivia Williams performances were “legendary” is no hyperbole.

The performances from Mark Bazeley and Olivia Williams were incredible. Olivia Williams performance in this rates as one of the greatest pieces of acting I’ve witnessed on the stage.

Unfortunately Act 2 does disappoint, it seemed to me that Ingmar Bergman couldn’t quite decide how to end the play and so it felt a bit incredulous and messy towards the end.

I’m so glad I did that retweet and saw this, it’s only on for another week though. If you’ve been married any period of time or want to see a performance by two actors that is truly “legendary” then make haste to St James’ Theatre.

STARS : ★ ★ ★ ★

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