Monday, February 19, 2007

Sad news

I was very sad to read that Steven Pimlott died last week; a great loss for British theatre. He was responsible for some of the most moving and most thrilling nights I've had at the theatre. His "Hamlet" for the RSC in 2001 changed my life, it's as simple as that. I've never cried more at a play that at the end of "Master and Margarita" in Chichester, a fabulous adaptation (by Edward Kemp) of a novel that seemed to defy adaptation in its complexity, but which resulted in a physically adventurous and almost unbearably moving production. The same season had the Minerva Theatre containing "King Lear", and acting as merely the starting point for a "Doctor Faustus" that took over the centre of Chichester ending in the cathedral, a wonderfully inventive piece of community theatre mixing only 7 0r 8 professional actors with a cast and crew of hundreds of local people. He was sometimes criticised for placing too much emphasis on the political aspects or for being deliberately provocative, but that's what made him an interesting and thought-provoking director - you didn't come out of his plays saying "that was quite nice, wasn't it?" You came out talking, and thinking, for hours. After the marathon of a four hour "Hamlet" in Stratford all I could think was "I want to see it again - now!"

My sympathies to his family and loved ones - he will be very much missed.


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