Landscape with Weapon, National Theatre, London – review

First of all – I am incredibly pissed off about the fact that Bill Nighy isn’t even nominated for a Tony Award for his performance in The Vertical Hour. Extremely pissed off. I have no words for it really, if that wasn’t award worthy acting then I don’t understand a thing. Kevin Spacey (Moon for the misbegotten) wasn’t nominated either.

But despite all that misery, I had a ticket for a play tonight.

Landscape with weapon, Cottlestoe theatre, National theatre – London

It has some well known names attached, which isn’t a guarantee for a good play, but it was in this case.

Joe Penhall has written it. He also wrote the award winning Blue/Orange , with the award nominated Bill Nighy, you know, that actor that should have had a Tony award. I saw Blue/Orange (sorry in Dutch) (now in English) in a small somewhat obscure room in the theatre video archive in London. But then I am a bit weird.

Blue/Orange and Landscape with Weapon are both directed by Roger Michell. Roger Michell also directed (among many other things):
Notting Hill
Enduring Love (with Daniel Craig and Bill Nighy), also written by Joe Penhall
The Mother (with Daniel Craig)
and Venus (with Peter O’Toole).

In Notting Hill, Julian Rhind-Tutt played the Time Out journalist, who, together with Hugh Grant, was going to interview Anna Scott (Julia Roberts). He was also in Green Wing, a UK tv series.

In Pirates of the Carribean Tom Hollander plays Lord Cutler Beckett, who becomes good buddies with Davy Jones in POTC3, and he also played in Lawless Heart (really a great film!) together with Bill.

Both Tom Hollander and Julian Rhind-Tutt gave an absolutely fantastic performance in tonight’s play.

The play is about Ned (Tom Hollander) who works as an engineer in the military industry. His latest work has been the creation of extremely sophisticated software to control rockets. While he is proud about his work, talking with his brother slowly makes him realize what it actually is he is doing. His company however is not happy at all when he changes his mind, and things get very unpleasant for him from that point.

Tom Hollander gave one of the very best performances I have seen on stage ever, and while I wasn’t a very big fan of Julian RT, I am now, he is fantastic. There was very good chemistry between the two on the scarcely furnitured stage, and there was also enough to laugh about.

The numbness feeling I had when leaving the theatre and the last scene spooking around in my head long after I left the theatre told me that this was a great play. The thing is that you try to think about a possible solution for the problem brought up in the play, but there doesn’t seem to be one. And that keeps nagging you.

Catch it if you can.


10 thoughts to “Landscape with Weapon, National Theatre, London – review”

  1. Bill has won the Teen Choice Award, Satellite and a Golden Ssatellit Award, LAFCA Award, ALFS Award, Golden Globe, 2 Peter Sellers Awards for Comedy, Broadcasting Press Guild Award, BAFTA Film Award and the BAFTA TV Award so I think he hasn’t got a problem by not being nominated for a Tony Award. In fact, he should be proud of it. A true Englishman with an American Award for theatre performance…are you kiddin’ me?

  2. No not kidding you. I think that if you take your awards seriously, the best performances should be nominated. That has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that he is an Englishman, but with the fact that he delivered an extraordinary nomination worthy performance. And the American award would be appropriate because the play was staged in New York, and not in England.

    He might not have a problem with not being nominated, but I do!

  3. I am not shooting, I am just disappointed :)

    And yeah, I know – there seems to be an overload of male actors suitable for the award this year according to the US newspapers.

  4. I enjoy your blog, which prompted me to watch again “The Girl in the Cafe”.The first time Lawrence and Gina meet in the cafe is so memorable, and the nuances of their silences, uncertain glances, is very poignant. When Gina speaks out in the prescence of the politicians, and Lawrence cannot disavow her, you feel there is hope and change is possible.

    On matters Bill Nighy, I think you said in an earlier blog that you liked radio plays particularly with Bill Nighy in the cast. I am sure you must have, but did you hear a radio play broadcast on the 3/1/07 called “All Fingers and Thumbs”. A romantic comedy with a serious message, with Mr Nighy playing a theatre director. I listened to a recording of it on my iPod on the train to work and couldn’t supress my laughter. I am not sure what my fellow passengers made of it all.

  5. @winter solstice – that’s a beautiful nick. And thank you for the kind words.

    I could write for hours about the film, but I won’t, people will drag me away from here. The fact that there is hope in the film is probably why I love it so much too. Hope, and that unexpected things can happen in your life.

    About Bill and “All Fingers and Thumbs” yes I have it. I had it with me on my iPod when I was doing the Trans Mongolian express (6 days in a train) and I have played it so many times now that I probably remember the complete script. It is definitely one of his funniest radio plays, and I like the fact that it has a serious message as well. It’s cleverly written. My last job in Denmark was for a company that had a lot of contact with deaf, and dumb+deaf organisations in Denmark, it’s makes it even more interesting for me.

    But oh yes, I laugh out loud every time I hear it. It’s brilliant how he turns from being a complete jerk and womanizer into this desperate and insecure man falling in love. He does that so well. Very sexy voice indeed.

    Other favourite radioplays with him are Vongole (“Do you like pasta?”) and “Mad Bad”.

  6. @grigorisgirl – listen, is there anything he has done I don’t love? :)

    Bill “What qualities do you look for in a man, Joan?”
    Joan “Availability”
    Bill (so sexy it should be forbidden) “Mmm – I’m available”

    Yes love that one too! Will feed them all to my iPod now, who needs music anyway :-)

  7. I saw Blue/Orange (though in Portuguese) – very good! As to your review of it, it’s in Dutch but, hey, how hard can it be to guess what “Bill was fantastisch” stands for? ;)

  8. Yeah, well I just translated it all :-) Just in case people did *not* understand what that meant :-)

    This post wasn’t even supposed to be about him ! I promise a Bill free week from tomorrow, seriously.

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