Fanny and Alexander is a play to luxuriate in. Sit back, relax – and let three and a half hours of rich storyline, beautifully performed, draw you away into another world. Don’t feel guilty about it, for – as the moral of this tale has it – it is good for the soul to give in to pure pleasure occasionally.
The acting in this show is a wonder to behold, it is full of larger than life characters, but there is never a hint of pantomime or showboating. The play (and the audience too, on the day I attended) is crammed with the best actors that London has to offer. Penelope Wilton is amazing as the matriarch with a past, holding the family together. Jonathan Slinger is excellent as a slightly sleazy but unapologetic sybarite. Kevin Doyle brings out the best (and worst) in the ascetic bishop. Michael Pennington is fabulous as Isaac, the puppet master bringing the action together, seemingly from the periphery, but not as detached as he appears. Guillermo Bedward played Alexander in the show I watched and he was very good, both funny and serious.
Much of this play is set around various dinner tables, often accompanied by a list of the food on the menu. Fanny and Alexander itself is a feast of all the best that London theatre has to offer. You will be transported, indulged and you can wallow in an evening of rich extravagant entertainment. The set is simple but clear, I really liked the austerity of the room in the second act. The choreography is clever, just organising the many scene changes with such a large cast must have taken careful organising. It was a pleasure to watch great theatre unfold before your very eyes. I loved this show and the time flew, it was one of the most rewarding afternoons that I have ever wasted!
2 thoughts on “Fanny and Alexander, The Old Vic, London SE1”
Hi Nick, I’m so pleased to read this review, particularly because I’ve missed your posts over the past few months. This show sounds interesting, but I wanted to let you know that I’ve learned so much from what you have written. Over the past few months I was able to see Follies, which was superb, and I went to see Everybody’s Talking about Jamie, both on your recommendation and thought it one of the funniest, but most moving shows I have seen in recent years, absolutely wonderful! Add to that discovering Brasserie Zédel, and you see what an influence you’ve had! Seriously though, thanks for your writings, and great to see you back here! PS. I did write my own review of Zédel, you may like to check it out?
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Thank you very much, David, for your encouragement. Hopefully, I will be back posting regularly again now, after that break.
BTW I really liked your review of Zedel and I enjoy reading your blog.
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