Friday, 10 February 2012

"Travelling Light"

We were attracted to the latest National Theatre cinema relay by the presence in the cast of Anthony Sher. Nicholas Wright's play title reflects the imagined passage of a Lumière camera from deep in Eastern Europe to the West coast of America, transported by our hero, the orphaned son of a forgotten Jewish cinema pioneer. Sonny and Sher both, however, disappointed last night: Damien Molony looks good, but his wooden acting in the final scenes was exposed by the close ups. Sher's magnetism, so attractive when first we went to see him at Stratford, has now it seems worn off. But worst of all Travelling Light, for all its large cast and Hytner's elaborate production, has none of that true lightness The Artist has, a film echoing a similar era but with more finesse and magical delight.

Nor would Travelling Light work as a film: indeed, the best parts of the evening were the alienation effect of seeing a film of a play about a film, and the discussion at the end - in which (as Emma Freud pointed out) the author was the only gentile.

The stained glass - photographed in 2008 (in Oxford's Christ Church Cathedral) - looks like Kempe: another young Jewish boy on the run.

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