It’s ages since I’ve reviewed anything I’ve seen, so to start on the backlog… last night I saw The Royal Hunt of the Sun at the National.
I really liked the play itself, but the staging was weird. I don’t know if it was deliberate, but it was as if the past forty years had never happened. It might have been intentionally retro, which is why I’d love to hear what they intended.
The staging, particularly in the first part, just seemed amateurish. It really distracted from the performances and the text. Where modern productions might use projections to suggest scenery or movement, they used swathes of silk, which could have been effective, but somehow just wasn’t. Some of the costumes were gorgeous, but some looked like something your Mum might run up the day before fancy dress day at primary school.
There was far too much action that looked like bad mime or interpretative dance, and the Incas’ accents were almost offensively ‘Meester, I breeeng you girls, yes?’.
It got better in the second part, but lots of people didn’t come back after the interval.
But some of the audience obviously loved it, judging by the applause at the end. The crowd was older than other audiences I’ve seen at the National, particularly for Travelex season shows.