I’m proud to say I have never walked out of a play or film. And I’ve seen some shit. Local theatre, alternative performances at university and my own little sister’s dance shows, I’ve paid money to be there so I’m going to be there for every second. The handsome Jude Law has had a couple of spells on the stage. Notably, the ‘if you haven’t done it, are you even an actor’ Hamlet as well as Henry V and Doctor Faustus. This year, Law was in something more modern, something called Obsession. This play will not stand the test of time in theatre circles (the reviews aren’t too pleasant). Instead, it will live on in my memory as The Play I Almost Walked Out On.
There are few times in my ‘theatre’ career where I can take the high ground. I’ve seen things for the famous faces or the sheer cheesiness of the thing (cough cough Shrek the Musical cough cough). Having seen Hedda Gabler at the National screened in my local cinema, I was drawn to the director’s next work: Obsession. I think Jude Law is a great actor and a bad person. This was the first time I pitied him. What on earth was this production? If it had an interval or if my bladder didn’t hold out, I would have left and never looked back.
Law played a drifter named Gino. He has an affair with a married woman and the husband dies in a car accident.The play is based on a 1943 Italian film of the same name which is based on The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain which has nothing to do with postmen. There are many reason why I almost walked, I’m only going to talk about the big three: character, story and tone. Yep, it pretty much failed on all fronts and I’m very excited to talk about it.
First, character. I did not give a shit about anyone on that stage. They were shallow and two dimensional, it was hard to like them and they made stupid choices and spoke as if the script was pushed through Google Translate. Second, story. Slow. Slow. Slow. It moved at a snail pace and I found myself zoning out thinking about next week’s shopping but that’s okay because nothing was happening except long knowing stares which got dull pretty quickly. Finally, tone. There were some interesting choices made. An accordion was constantly on stage and played itself. Everyone but Jude Law could and would sing opera. Right. In. Each. Other’s. Faces. You would have to have an extensive knowledge to understand why this was significant because I couldn’t see it. Especially as they also played crazy techno and off beat indie track for when Jude Law ran on a treadmill with his back to the audience and his face projected onto the back wall every time Gino decided to run away from the crazy bitch he fucked once, fucked some more and then plotted murder with. Not as thrilling as it sounds.
The problem with the production was it wasn’t engaging. You didn’t care for the three main characters from the off and any new characters served no real purpose. The emotion they showed were either the extreme of sex and violence or flat. I was glad they all died in the end. Saved you 120 minutes, you’re welcome. Having seen Hedda Gabler, I don’t think I’m in a position to blame the director. I think his talents were wasted on a bad script and that’s the biggest tragedy of all.