Londonist attended the theatre last night. We purchased a ticket for A Life in the Theatre a play written by David Mamet at the Apollo Theatre about a week ago. A Life in the Theatre tells the story of stage veteran Robert (Patrick Stewart) and aspiring actor John (Joshua Jackson) and their evolving friendship on and off stage. The running time is a scant hour and a half. The reviews for it have been here and there, most agreeing that Patrick Stewart’s performance is superior to American Joshua Jackson, but we decided to judge for ourselves.
We arrived in plenty of time in order to observe the audience filing in because you can often tell a lot about a production by the look of the ticket holders. This audience consisted mostly of American college students and American tourists (obviously Joshua Jackson has quite some pull), in addition, it should be noted that they were mostly female. One of these girls even had a rose when she entered alone, we can only assume that she intended to throw it at Jackson at play’s end.
Let us not be too judgmental of the audience for we too may have gone with some eagerness to see not only Joshua Jackson (who did make our heart flutter in earlier years on American teen drama Dawson’s Creek), but also see Patrick Stewart from Star Trek: Next Generation. Londonist did luck out in meeting one of them, although completely by accident. In our attempt to kill a few minutes before the show as well as perk ourselves up – we dropped by the Starbucks across the street. In the few moments we were there we managed to run into Jackson who told us that he "likes to grab a coffee before the show."
Now onto the review: The show was good. Stewart had tremendous presence, and some lengthy dialogue upon which he built a strong character full of pathos and humour. Jackson on the other hand had a lot less to offer, mostly because he rarely had any lines that consisted of more than five words. It appeared to us that “Hmm” was the most prominent word in his dialogue. The vignettes which depicted the actors acting within the play were side-splitting at moments. Londonist’s favourite: Stewart and Jackson depict two southern gentlemen (southern drawl and all) arguing over a supposed affair. All in all, Stewart really does steal the show, but this is Jackson’s first West End appearance so there is time for him yet.
Some side notes: The music between scene changes took us back to the 1980s. We got to see both Stewart and Jackson in nothing but their underwear and are happy to report that both men are in good shape (Stewart reportedly has complained that audience members often wolf-whistle him). There is one scene with a bit of sexual innuendo which felt a bit forced, but one can’t help but laugh at it.
To book tickets visit Really Useful Theatres.