“A Life in the Theatre” – Jaycee – Featured Fan Review
January 27, 2005 – UK Preview Night
Jaycee worked with us to bring bring her personal reviews of Josh in his West End debut of, “A Life in the Theatre”. She attended the press event in February and provided us with a second review from that viewing.
Thanks for all your help, Jaycee!
I’m no professional writer, so this is really from a fan’s point of view, plus I haven’t been to the theatre in a long time and also I don’t want to give too much away, (even though I can’t for the life of me remember right now exactly how it ended exactly!) but I enjoyed this play very much and laughed in all the right places so I must have understood it quite well. I thought there might have been something wrong with me, as the woman sat next to me didn’t titter. Not even once. For three quarters of the play her gaze was glued to the stage so I can only assume she really was only there to drool over Josh – and there was a lot to drool over. After that, she began to stretch out her arms and glance about. Maybe she was bored. Maybe she just didn’t get it. Fortunately for me, there were plenty of accompanying guffaws around the rest of the theatre so I sat back and relaxed assured that it wasn’t just me.
Patrick Stewart was superb and Josh is a perfect foil for him in this play – both physically and in the opposing qualities of their characters as Robert and John. They have great chemistry and it shows. It’s a nice touch, different and intriguing, to watch these two men act out plays within a play. As you know, A Life In The Theatre is about two actors, one a ‘newbie,’ the other a veteran, and their dialogue and interaction ‘on’ and ‘off stage.’ We see them in various states of undress as they change costume – Stewart is in pretty good shape for a 65 year old – as they ‘learn lines’ (an exasperating experience for Josh’s character, and a funny one for us), and as they converse ‘off stage’ and act ‘on stage.’ We see Robert (Stewart) become more frustrated, bitter, and jealous of John (Jackson) as we go along, and yet you can also see that he’s fond of him. By the end we see, in implication, just how low and desperate Robert falls as he realizes what a relic he’s become after years and years in the business, how obsolete he feels; and yet despite the poignancy, despite a little sadness, there is still the comedy coaxing you to laugh.
My favourite scenes:
look out for the shipwrecked survivors on a raft; Josh’s overacting and crying is really funny (his comedic timing is bloody good!), the hospital scene where Robert forgets his lines is also hilarious, and especially the one where Josh is ‘on stage’ rehearsing after he thinks everyone has gone home, and then finds out that Robert has been secretly watching him. It’s funny and sad at the same time.
I’ve probably missed out loads to tell you, but maybe I can fill in more details later. Or maybe another lucky audience member can fill you in better than I have. I’m lucky enough to have 2 extra chances to see this play again! So next time round I’m going to have a serious gawk at Josh undressed as I felt almost too embarrassed to look at him or Stewart when they were half naked! It was kind of distracting and you can miss certain nuances, lines and the like, if you’re not concentrating properly! You know how sometimes you need to see a movie more than once to catch the bits you missed or to understand it better? That’s the main reason I’m going to see it again. No, really.