MY WEEK (June 19, 2014): Unusual adaptations and dramatic conclusions

William Meredith (centre) from The Reduced Shakespeare Company

William Meredith (centre) from The Reduced Shakespeare Company

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Sometimes, it pays off to take an unconventional look at an author’s work.

Last Wednesday (June 11), I took the train to Horley to catch The Archway Theatre Company’s performance of Emma.

I’m not a Jane Austen fan (I remember being bored to tears when I had to read Mansfield Park at university), but the approach to this adaptation intrigued me. I’ve discussed it at length in the review (page 11), but this version is essentially a play within a play – a kind of sideways look at the tale, which I found particularly engaging.

Speaking of unconventional adaptations, I typed up an interview with William Meredith from The Reduced Shakespeare Company (page 4). The company is bringing The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised] to Ardingly ArtsFest next week. It’s a show I loved when I saw it at Horsham’s Capitol last year, so I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to chat over the phone with one of the performers.

I was delighted to see that William had appeared in one of my favourite movies, 28 Weeks Later, as a soldier who meets a rather gruesome end. I won’t give away what happens but I recommend those with a strong stomach go to his website (www.williammeredith.com), where his character’s death scene has been uploaded in all its gory glory. William’s evidently proud of its sheer awesomeness.

Those who want to see something even more awesome should check out the final two episodes in the latest series of Game of Thrones.

Episode 9 was a feast of action, as the wildlings finally launched their attack on The Wall. Unlike previous Thrones episodes, there was no cutting between storylines. This was just a 50-minute, down-and-dirty battle sequence, directed with real flair by Neil Marshall.

After seeing so many characters get bumped off, audiences might have thought the final episode would have offered an opportunity to unwind. Wrong! If anything, even more key characters were wiped out by those mean old writers.

It really feels as though everything in the whole show, not just the latest series, came to a head in episodes 9 and 10. Plotlines have either reached a devastating conclusion or smashed into each other or both. I know I’m technically ahead because of the books but I now want to see how the TV show handles the narrative from this point on.

The end of series four has arrived way too quickly.