Major Barbara. NT. 2-4-08

Simon Russell Beale is one of the actors that I would pay to see without being told what play he was in or what part he was playing. He is often described as Britain’s greatest living stage actor and he’d certainly get my vote. His timing is impeccable and he caught both the humour and the practical ruthlessness of Andrew Undershaft. He handled the great speeches in the second half beautifully and it was fascinating to watch his jousting with Barbara and Aldolphus. All the acting was first rate, although I felt Barbara herself was a bit underpowered. It was a lovely performance but I would have liked to have paid more than ten pounds for my ticket and seen it close up. Just great to see Shaw back in the Olivier again though- I hope that they make it three times in a row next year and do Heartbreak House. It’s no more than he deserves.
Not quite as pitch perfect as St Joan was but pretty damn good.


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