Girl Friday (National Theatre, Olivier)
the big, brave and resonant production of Henry V, the National's
Travelex-sponsored £10 season continues in lighter, brighter
mode with a new summer comedy adapted from a classic old one.
refreshing to see a production that respects the comic rhythms
of a period piece like this while adding its own inventiveness..."
fact, it's an adaptation of a great film, which was itself an adaptation
of an even greater play.
National, who 32 years ago scored one of their biggest-ever hits
when Laurence Olivier starred in The Front Page at the Old Vic,
have understandably fought shy of reviving that play. (Sam Mendes,
however, wasn't as inhibited and revived it at the Donmar Warehouse
a few years ago).
they've commissioned Broadway playwright John Guare to re-fashion
the film that was based on the play, His Girl Friday, and bring
that version back to the stage.
it, the editor and star journalist of the original play, both working
for Chicago's Morning Examiner, have become a former ace husband-and-wife
team who are reunited to deliver one last scoop for the paper before
she heads off to New York and
a new marriage.
film, these roles were a gift for Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell,
and now on stage, Alex Jennings and Zoe Wanamaker are consummately
stylish and effortlessly amusing.
After the West End's disastrous revival of another Broadway classic,
Arsenic and Old Lace, it's refreshing to see a production (directed
by Jack O'Brien) that truly trusts and respects the comic rhythms
of a period piece like this while adding layers of its own inventiveness.
Girl Friday is in rep at the National Theatre, Olivier. Tickets
£10 - £25, student standbys available. Box office: 020