A war and a wedding

The first play in the Globe’s double bill is A Kind of Justice, by Margaret Wood.

It’s intentionally timeless: conflict-related posters and film clips establish a universal rather than specific context.

An encounter in a mountain village, somewhere, between defenceless women and soldiers of varying degrees of ruthlessness, constitutes the action.

No-one seems to have a clear idea of what the war is about, and idealism is conspicuously absent.

The production is directed by Aaron Richardson and achieves a reasonably good amateur standard, although diction would at times be improved by better audibility and intelligibility, and less overdone staccato delivery.

Published in 1966, the play is remarkable for its anti-war stance and the seemingly insoluble moral dilemmas of some characters, and its themes remain highly relevant.

Bertolt Brecht’s A Respectable Wedding (1919), directed by Thomas Makinson, is a more substantial piece and the more successful of the two.

Makinson has made a conscious (and, in my view, correct) decision to exploit its farcical aspects.

Things begin decorously enough, with guests enjoying a lavish dinner at the over-furnished home of a newly married couple.

Wine takes hold and soon petit-bourgeois pretensions melt away and cracks, some of them literal, grow wider.

As the wreckage continues and the insults fly, the newlyweds’ prospects seem both bleak and hilarious.

Performances are stronger here, and I was especially impressed by Erica Julian as the exasperated, humiliated bride and Emer Lyons as her drunk-and-getting-drunker sister.

Costumes and set have been well researched and are splendidly detailed.

Neither play is frequently performed — this may be the New Zealand premiere of A Kind of Justice.

In both cases the playwrights’ intentions have been respected, and their contrasting moods contribute to a satisfying evening at the theatre.

A Kind of Justice/ A Respectable Wedding

Globe Theatre - Thursday, May 13

 

- Barbara Frame

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