Wednesday, December 30, 2009

SOB's Favorite Shows Of The Noughties: #2 - The Norman Conquests

SOB's Favorite Shows Of The Noughties: #2 - The Norman Conquests (2004, Circle in the Square Theatre, New York City, NY)

Introduction: Hard as it is to comprehend that we're already 119 months into this "new" millennium, we are fast approaching the end of its first decade. While we have yet to agree on what exactly we should call the '00s, I'll take a cue from the fine folks at The Times of London and the BBC and henceforth refer to them at the Noughties.

With that small introduction, I'm pleased to present my list of plays and musicals that wowed me the most during that time. Out of the hundreds and hundreds of shows I've seen over the last ten years, I give you my countdown of my 25 personal favorite shows of the Noughties.

Alan Ayckbourn's uproariously hilarious The Norman Conquests cut with remarkable, exacting precision, but it also sliced and diced its six fully-rounded characters in this jujitsu of love.

Just when you thought you had the first portion of this trilogy figured out, one intriguing layer after another was carefully stripped away to reveal more of Ayckbourn's intricately woven story. Each character's motives were eventually cut to the core. And they weren't necessarily what they seemed.

Matthew Warchus' brilliant direction of each installment -- Table Manners, Living Together and Round And Round The Garden -- made each story accessible and comprehensible in its own right. Yet it's only after seeing all three marathon-style that all the complex pieces truly came together as an unequivocal masterpiece.

Rising to the challenge of Ayckbourn's pure genius, Warchus helmed an excellent cast offering a breathtaking master class in nuanced ensemble acting. Each actor so fully inhabits his or her character that their exceptional use of body language was amplified just as effortlessly as their voices, which was critically important given that this show was in the round.

Not only did I find myself on the edge of my seat, but miraculously, I found myself never wanting it to end. Every bit bit as funny as it was sublime, The Norman Conquests was the best revival I've seen on Broadway or anywhere else over the last decade.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

In keeping with the new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations that unfairly discriminate against bloggers, who are now required by law to disclose when they have received anything of value they might write about, please note that I have received nothing of value in exchange for this post. I paid my own way for the three performances that comprise The Norman Conquests.

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At 30 December, 2009, Blogger Linda said...

Yeah! Great choice for number 2. I was a little afraid to the marathon, thinking it might be too much, but I'm so glad I did. After each show, I couldn't wait to return. I wonder what's going to be number 1.

At 05 January, 2010, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Like you, I dreaded the marathon thinking it would be way too many hours spent in a theatre if I wasn't enjoying the play. Glad my fears were allayed and then some!


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