On the sixth day of Christmas . . .
(Running a bit late, I know. Blame a cold.)
A Man With Two Guvnors. I saw it at the National a few months ago. There is little to add to the rave reviews. A couple of things, maybe . . .
One Setting it in Brighton in the 1960s and linking it to Carry On films etc gives a real tangible sense of the immutability of human concupiscence. From old Italian stuff to post-Graham Greene Regency seaside hows-your-father to, well, the National Theatre.
Two Like all great comedy, it is tragedy turned inside out. Thus flipped, it could be considered as, well, perhaps a Brechtian drama about the inherent dialetical contradictions of mercantile capitalism — Threepenny Opera, with fewer gags (ha ha). Or, as an emodiment of Kleinian theory — a case study of continuous (and finally productive) oscillation between the paranoid-schizoid and depressive positions.
Joking aside . . . actually, I'm not really joking. I've always thought jokes are more serious than serious stuff. That's why so many great stand-ups are such coke-head psychos (if their attitude and material is a good guide). To paraphrase Woody Allen on sex. Q: Is comedy also nasty and violent? A: Only if it's done right.
For my psychoanalytic studies, I wrote an essay which took The Importance of Being Earnest and unfolded its narrative back into its real rather than dramatic order. This produced an Oedipal tale, with a backstory of spousal abuse. It was respectably received, too. No one told me I was taking the piss, anyway. Which I perhaps was, a bit. But also most definitely wasn't.
Plus a little something for football fans. Well, fans of football commentators.