January 28th, 2014


Gritty GRIMES...


I missed David Alden's production last time around, and was looking forward to it. It 's left me a bit bemused, though, and I still don't know why. The citizens of the Borough are depicted as  a very rum lot. Auntie seems to be a cross-dresser with an orthopaedic boot, and her 'nieces' usually portrayed as strapping, happy-hooker types, are distinctly underage, possibly autistic, Siamese twins. (Well, they do separate now and then, but mostly move together making weird gestures, and looking frightened; (not surprising if they're being routinely abused by all the dodgy blokes in town, and, implicitly, Auntie herself.)  Ned Keen is outstandingly creepy, and Balstrode (the reliably excellent Iain Paterson) is also afflicted with a limp. I guess the message is that the whole place is full of outsiders, who unite in tormenting Grimes (who seems no weirder than anyone else-) lest they become the scapegoats. The set and lighting is heavy on the German Expressionism, which always works for me, and nicely evokes the grim greys of the south coast.
Edward Gardner conducts the orchestra and chorus, all on tiptop form, and Grimes himself is strongly portrayed by Stuart Skelton, who's made quite a reputation in the role. I have to say he doesn't move me, as the much missed Philip Langridge did, but he's certainly more than competent.
I'd say that all round, this is an excellent GRIMES, but not a great one. Maybe it's just a bit too cold.