One of the most outstanding productions of our times…
Not my words, but those of LS Media reviewer, Ian D. Hall. Click here for the original review, or read on below. Not sure it can get any better than this.
L.S. Media Rating *****
Cast: Paul Duckworth, Carl Cockram, Joe Shipman, Daniel Hayes.
The exceptional applause that rang out within the confines of the Unity Theatre’s studio two space said it all. From the exceptional performances by all the actors on stage, to the direction and the incredible writing of Mike Morris and Steven Higginson, Waiting For Brando was one of the most outstanding productions of our times.
Waiting For Brando tells the tale of two Liverpool seamen caught up in bar whilst noted American Director Elia Kazan was filming for arguably Marlon Brando’s finest role in On The Waterfront. It is an urban myth that this happened, however all the best urban myths have a tale to tell and even if it never happened, the characterisation of the two brothers in the bar mirrored wonderfully what was going in the United States of America after the war, the bigotry, betrayal, the hatred and rampant suspicion that was out of control in the McCarthy Communism hearings and between two of the greats of American culture in the 20th Century, Elia Kazan and Arthur Miller.
Although the play is only for three days at the Unity, the incredible cast threw everything into their performances and without any doubt, the two radical giants of their day would have approved.
Paul Duckworth, known to many theatre goers in Liverpool as part of the much loved company that has bought Scouse Pacific and Little Scouse on the Prairie to the Royal Court Theatre, excelled and gave the performance of his life as the man behind the camera Elia Kazan. His interaction with Carl Cockham as the legendary playwright Arthur Miller was enough to take your breath away. Whilst the performance space was split in two, with one half reflecting the conversations between the two elder men in the relative comfort of Kazan’s home, the other half was taken up with one of the seedy bars that littered the New York dock side after the Second World War. The feel of decay was overriding and even though the bar had a new juke box in the corner, the good times had quite obviously passed. This mirrored the relationship between the two brothers, their fractured lives splintering and changing before their eyes.
As with the relationship between Paul Duckworth and Carl Cockram, the two brothers were played by actors at the very top of their game. The comfortable ease and horrifying, almost stifling breakdown between Joe Shipman and Daniel Hayes was captured in the great dance scene between the two brothers and the realisation that the elder brother has switched sides and become one of those he had hated.
An absolutely outstanding piece of theatre, it will certainly take something of epic proportions to dislodge this play as one of the finest in Liverpool during 2012.
Ian D. Hall