Wednesday, 28 May 2003

Larkin with Women

Went to The Belgrade Theatre to see Larkin with Women by Ben Brown. Came away feeling it had been a worthwhile evening and that doesn't happen enough, for sure, and at home looked again (briefly) at Larkin's poems, which led on to Marvell and then Donne..........

The difficulties with "biopic" plays is that the actor may not be portraying the person as we had envisaged them. Sometimes the essence of the individual is overridden by the supposed need for facial and physical verisimilitude. I always, perhaps mistakenly, thought of Larkin as someone far more prickly and difficult, not just in his insistence on how he wanted to live his life - that was more than well displayed through the writing - but as an enduring part of his personality (altho that would apparently contradict with his attractiveness to women, but we are meant to be a contradictory species; that's all humans, not just women). I felt that John Arthur who played Larkin was not quite there, and in particular didn't click with his readings of the poems. Perhaps the diffidence in the readings was reflective of the man - but I'm not entirely convinced.
There were some lovely bitchy comments on Ted Hughes and the nature of poet laureateship. I see in my mind's eye a shortened version, but a two-parter, counterbalanced by seeing Larkin through Ted Hughes' eyes, both poets enlivened by their clutch of intriguing women. Did the men ever meet I wonder? The bitchiness would suggest so.

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