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Topic: NO MAN'S LAND | Reactions, Reviews & POLL! Have you seen Damien's new play?

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NO MAN'S LAND - What did YOU think? [14 vote(s)]

5 stars - Incredible! Amazing play! I absolutely loved it!
64.3%
4 stars - Great! I really enjoyed it!
7.1%
3 stars - Good, I liked it
21.4%
2 stars - OK, but probably wouldn't see it again
0.0%
1 star - Loved seeing Damien on the stage, but the play was not for me
7.1%
0 stars - Terrible, I really didn't enjoy it
0.0%
Molonian
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NO MAN'S LAND | Reactions, Reviews & POLL! Have you seen Damien's new play?
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I gave it 5 stars - great play, acting, scenery, lighting, the works,
It didn't come over as a rwo-hander, definitely a party of four! The two Sirs did indeed bounce off each other nicely, then Damien swaggered in with his London accent, the humour continued with Foster being puzzled at to who Spooner was and why he was there. Briggs came in with more of an attitude. One thing I noticed was Damien's voice was slightly higher than usual, Owen's harsher - played on with comedic success when Brigg briefly parodied Foster in the second Act.
Foster looked completely different in both Acts - casual with leather jacket and matching shoes in the first part, smartly suited in the second (the suit seemed to be a much better fit than in the promo pics).
Alcohol featured strongly (my kind of play) and I could well understand Ian Mckellan's toilet fixation as he had to drink vast amounts of "alcohol".
I like Pinter, his plays are never simple and a lot is left equivocal and up to audience imagination and interpretation. My take (and I don't want to give anything away for those who haven't seen it but would love a forum discussion when it's finished) is basically Hirst is a damaged individual who has had trauma in the past impinging on his handling of life today, Spooner is a bit of a chancer, ready to go with the flow, who would like to take advantage of situations as they arise, and Foster and Briggs are two young men who realise that their comfortable way of living is best kept up by maintaining the status quo. Foster is an unpublished poet and Briggs is very concerned for Foster's welfare.
Talking afterwards, some had a problem with the play, saying they didn't understand what was happening. Pinter doesn't really deal in black and white (although black and black is an option); the play is meant to be unsettling and cause discussion, with various interpretations and I think it totally succeeded. Just people seemed to think the characters were always telling the truth and, of course, they were not.
I can definitely see Damien as Spooner, but not for many years to come!
Afterwards I joined the queue for autographs, and was lucky enough to spot Damien before he made a dash for freedom - he didn't seem to think anyone was there for him! Anyhow, I yelled his name (I have no shame) and he turned round and signed a few autographs! I told him I had won one of the "Clean Break" DVDs through the forum (love to you all from him, by the way). He was so prepared for autographs he had to use my pen, and posed for selfies with a couple of fans - made me wish I had brought my camera!! He was followed by Owen Teale and Sir Ian, who worked the crowd beautifully, signing autographs, posing for selfies and talking to the crowd. Needless to say, I got their autographs as well - they both had Sharpies at the ready. I made Owen Reale laugh by telling him he was the crush for my daughters for years! Patrick Stewart didn't show as his wife had just arrived from America and he'd gone to meet her, instead.



-- Edited by EllieForster on Friday 19th of August 2016 12:28:22 PM



-- Edited by EllieForster on Friday 19th of August 2016 12:31:48 PM

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Marvellous Molonian Moderator
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Great to read your reviews Becca and Ellie and to hear about your Damien experiences! How adorable that Damien didn't think anyone would be there for him!

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Molonian
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I loved reading your reviews. I wish it was one of those plays which are transferred to the cinema (like The Hard Problem) then I could go and see it.

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Really nice to read your experiences with the play Ellie and Becca!
Damien by now should know at least someone will be there at the stage door :)

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Damiac
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts Ellie, i'm seeing it tomorrow afternoon and i'm so excited. Unfortunately i won't be able to 'stage door' as i have to dash off straight afterwards (my daughter's godmother's 50th birthday party).

(Will post my thoughts about the play probably on Sunday :))

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Damiac
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I enjoyed reading about your experience Ellie. smile  Note to self: take a pen. 

 



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Thank you Becca and Ellie, for sharing your NML experiences! Very happy to see the first votes in our poll too.

Congrats on your stage door photos! I'd love to see them, if you felt like sharing in this topic 


Awesome that you also saw the Q & A Becca, and great to hear about it. In the BBC Radio Newcastle interview Damien mentioned how generous Ian and Patrick were and also that he'd like to play Spooner in a future incarnation of the play.

Ellie, that is interesting about Damien's voice! And thank you for the detail on his costume change. It has been years since I read it, but my impression of the play (as a text) was that it was beautifully written, the language is sumptuous, absolutely hilarious in places, but with on overriding feeling of profound sadness, from the unfolding story around Hirst. It is an absurdist play so possibly not to be literally understood in a beginning middle and end kind of way, but maybe more felt by the impression it leaves.

Thank you for mentioning the forum, it's really lovely you felt comfortable to do so. What a treat Damien sent love to all the forumers!

 



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Damiac
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Thank you for sharing your experience Ellie and Becca. And how lovely that you got change to meet Damien after the play. It almost feel like he is not waiting fans on the stage door at all. Going to see NML next month and I feel like I the first thing I need to do is to hunt down Damien as soon as the play ends biggrin

Hunt down... That sounds bad! But of course I ment to finding him after the play before he dash.

*now imagiging myself hunting Damien with a pen*



-- Edited by JozieMozie on Sunday 21st of August 2016 08:34:50 AM

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Molonian
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We were told to wait in a queue and the actors would come to us; I was half way down the queue when I noticed a figure come out and go straight towards the waiting cars. As I said, I yelled! He was the first out and seemed totally unprepared. Sir Ian and Owen Teale stayed for ages, working the crowd well, but Damien just left after he had signed a few autographs. Shame he didn't stay to watch how the masters did it. It helps improve popularity no end!

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Not long now Jozie, excited for you!

Ellie, from what I have seen so far in the NML tour Damien has signed an awful lot of autographs and posed for photos along with the rest of the cast, perhaps he had to be somewhere that day and it was kind of him to stop and sign what he did, plus photos?



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Damiac
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I saw the play yesterday afternoon.

First Pinter play, didn't know what to expect and i know a lot of people have said that they didn't know what the play was about and that it was subjective to interpretation so i kept an open mind. To be brutally honest, I didn't follow the plot (such as there was one), i just watched the performances and they were tremendous, all four of them. It was most definitely not a two hander, every one of them held their own.

Ellie, i completely agree with your interpretation of the characters, that's how i saw them. Hirst was tragic, Spooner was a chancer and Briggs and Foster were more determined to keep the status quo and their comfortable lifestyles. The pair of them were definitely freezing Spooner out becoming more apparent in the second act.

All four of them were amazing. The performance was packed out, there was not a seat to be had in the house (apart from panto, this was the first time i'd witnessed this myself in the Theatre Royal) and i could not take my eyes off the stage (I could see the stage quite well from my nosebleed seat but it would've been a different story if i'd had been in the seats to my left). I thought Damien was stunning in his own right, now i've only seen him on stage three times (Travelling Light, The Hard Problem and this...i so wanted to see The Body of An American but couldn't make it happen) and very easily this has been his finest performance to date, i think being part of this auspicious ensemble has really made him up his A game. He was bright, camp with a thread of violent and yes, his voice was higher pitched than normal and there was not a trace of his natural accent in that cockney wide-boy accent of Foster's. Really, really excellent.

At the end, they all received rapturous applause and someone at the front of the stage gave the two sirs bouquets of roses, white for Sir Patrick (Yorkshire man i believe) and red for Sir Ian (Lancastrian i know) and Sir Ian gave Damien a single red rose from the bouquet. Damien looked touched and smiled when we all went 'awww'. Sir Patrick did the same for Owen. I don't know if this was a spontaneous thing or they do it at every performance? Curious minds would love to know?

As I said in an earlier post, i didn't stage door, i was dashing off home to get ready for my daughter's Godmother's 50th birthday party (a fab night was had by all) but it was pouring with rain when i emerged from the Theatre Royal so perhaps they wouldn't have stuck around to sign (or if they did, not for long, it was really pouring down)

So the reviews i've read in my local press were spot on for me. It was funny, there was an aura of danger (mainly from the Briggs and Foster characters) and yes there was tragedy. Damien's finest role to date for me. I'm hoping it'll be the launchpad for even greater things for him in the future :)

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What a brilliant write up Lisa, reading every word brings a real sense of your evening, the play and Damien's performance.

This stands out for me "He was bright, camp with a thread of violent and yes, his voice was higher pitched than normal and there was not a trace of his natural accent in that cockney wide-boy accent of Foster's. Really, really excellent. "

Camp and cockney - oh my!! Sounds utterly epic.

Thank you so much for sharing

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A well considered and interesting No Man's Land review from the Chichester Observer!

 

Review: No Man’s Land (Theatre Royal, Brighton, until Saturday, August 27)

 

On Damien and Owen Teale

Damien Molony and Owen Teale as Foster and Briggs stay just on the right side of being threatening – are they staff, family, lovers or jailers? Often coming across as bullies, they reveal themselves as educated and eloquent in their own ways, and perhaps there is no escape for them either.

On the play (yes!)

By the end we continue wondering if this no man’s land is a place of limbo between life and death, or a dreamlike state between waking and sleeping, or a place between battlegrounds. And are the characters individuals with uncertain memories or aspects of each other?



Read more here



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Molonian
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Really good review, so glad to see Damien (and Owen) mentioned -" two storming supporting players"!

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Another excellent review, from Gscene Magazine!

REVIEW: No Man’s Land @ Theatre Royal

"Damien Molony as Foster and Owen Teale as Briggs are perfect in their dodgy weird codependent relationship with Teales in particular leaning into the laughs and bringing some light relief to his threatening, looming presence. Molony’s Foster is the picture of charming menace, visceral and mercurial, and his performance – like all the acting this evening – was superb. What an utterly perfect cast."

Read more here



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I had the enormous privilage of going to see No Man's Land in Cardiff last night - and I absolutely loved it!  I think it was to my advantage that I'd read all the reviews I could and so had decided that I wouldn't try to actually understand what it was about, but would just enjoy it for what it was.  And I sooo did!! It is a genuinely funny and clever and thought provoking play.....and the production was excellent.

It was an total joy to watch Sir Ian and Sir Pat on stage.  The first half of act one is almost entirely a monologue from Spooner - how on earth does Ian McKellen remember all of those lines?!!  Patrick Stewart's monosylables and gestures were pure gold....and he gave such a convincing performance I found myself remembering vividly.....unpleasantly what it actually feels like to be that drunk.....

But from the moment that Foster burst through the door and onto the stage, Damien completely owned his character.  I agree entirely with what everyone else has said...this was absolutely an ensemble piece with Damien easily holding his own in such esteemed company.  Yes his arrival introduces an element of menace - threat even.....but also a shot of energy and vitality - of youth!  This vitality coupled with his self assurance and decidely flashier costume meant - for me at least biggrin- he absolutely dominated the stage with his presence at times.  His voice/accent did cause me to smile - it reminded me a lot of Raven!



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FIFI! So delighted for you! Thank you for your wonderful review, all excellent but the last paragraph has me grinning from ear to ear:

fifi wrote:

But from the moment that Foster burst through the door and onto the stage, Damien completely owned his character.  I agree entirely with what everyone else has said...this was absolutely an ensemble piece with Damien easily holding his own in such esteemed company.  Yes his arrival introduces an element of menace - threat even.....but also a shot of energy and vitality - of youth!  This vitality coupled with his self assurance and decidely flashier costume meant - for me at least biggrin- he absolutely dominated the stage with his presence at times.  His voice/accent did cause me to smile - it reminded me a lot of Raven!


 



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Now I'm going to have to listen to "Raven" again! So glad that you enjoyed it, fifi.

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Just got home from watching No Man's Land - loved it! I didn't know the play, so had no idea what to expect but I was sucked in right away (don't think I 'understood' it, but loved it anyway).

The Q&A afterwards was great too; most of the Q's were for Sirs Ian and Patrick, but someone did ask how Damien and Owen Teale came to be cast. Apparently the director, Sean Mathias, had worked with Owen on a play before, but Damien had to audition. The director recognised him as Flight from Ripper Street and said "Oh my God, I'm in love with you!" Damien looked a tiny bit embarrassed at that anecdote, but there was a good reaction from the audience!

It was super crowded at the stage door, but I did manage to get Damien to sign my programme! Was too late for Ian McKellan, didn't see Patrick Stewart and was too excited from having (very briefly) met Damien to pursue Owen Teale. It was too busy to ask any questions or take pictures at the stage door, but I did manage to sneak a few pictures of the Q&A, which I will post here later if that's okay?



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Glad you had a good time! And lovely to hear about it too (:
Haha poor Damien, even the Director has fallen victim to DaMo land!

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Aradia Zavion wrote:

Just got home from watching No Man's Land - loved it! I didn't know the play, so had no idea what to expect but I was sucked in right away (don't think I 'understood' it, but loved it anyway).

The Q&A afterwards was great too; most of the Q's were for Sirs Ian and Patrick, but someone did ask how Damien and Owen Teale came to be cast. Apparently the director, Sean Mathias, had worked with Owen on a play before, but Damien had to audition. The director recognised him as Flight from Ripper Street and said "Oh my God, I'm in love with you!" Damien looked a tiny bit embarrassed at that anecdote, but there was a good reaction from the audience!

It was super crowded at the stage door, but I did manage to get Damien to sign my programme! Was too late for Ian McKellan, didn't see Patrick Stewart and was too excited from having (very briefly) met Damien to pursue Owen Teale. It was too busy to ask any questions or take pictures at the stage door, but I did manage to sneak a few pictures of the Q&A, which I will post here later if that's okay?


 Hi Aradia, great to hear your thoughts on the play  - thanks so much for sharing. It seems to be a play that is meant to be more experienced / felt than understood intellectually. Glad you enjoyed it!

Congrats on your signed programme

How wonderful you saw the Q & A too .. The anecdote about Sean Mathias at Damien's audition is FAB!

It would be awesome to see your Q& A photos, we have a topic especially for such treasures, here



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I had a look at possible tickets for the London run and saw that some of them START at £179 each! No chance.

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Great to hear that you had a great time, Aradia. Fantastic insight into the casting in the Q & A - love that Sean Matthias also feels the Molony Effect!

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Cardiff reviews are coming in!

 

Theatre | No Man's Land | Wales Arts Review

 

"The absurdist nature of the play emerges in the characters’ “quaint little perversions” and unpredictability, both in actions and in words. Long periods of stasis are juxtaposed with sudden motion as they careen from maudlin to flamboyant throughout their superficially unconnected anecdotes. Owen Teale’s Briggs is a contradictory character, simultaneously the harshest and softest of the four men and often adding a layer of menace to otherwise innocuous statements. Conversely, Damien Molony’s Foster has a lightness of tone, even when discussing the metaphorical No Man’s Land “which never moves, which never changes, which never grows older, but remains forever, icy and silent.”"

No Man's Land, New Theatre | Art Scene in Wales

"Waving away the stars from my eyes, the two are an utter joy to watch on as the tables frequently turn on one another, brilliant complimented by the supporting cast of Damien Molony and Owen Teale. Molony is Foster, Hirst son of sorts, spinning great little stories and as Teale’s Briggs is a threatening thug, who could violently snap at any moment. These two are their own double act, along with Hirst and Spooner."

 

Watching Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart in No Man's Land is an absolute privilege | Wales Online

"The pair are later joined by Welsh Game of Thrones actor Owen Teale as Hirst's personal assistant Briggs and Damien Molony as his apprentice and housekeeper Foster, who look like they've stepped out of a scene from The Sweeney with their authentic '70s garb.

They are certainly not in the shadow of the acting sirs, with Teale putting in a brilliant turn as the would-be menacing Briggs who loves to use the C-word."

 

No Man's Land - Cardiff | The Nerdy Notebook

there was no real fear of poor execution from two masters of the stage in Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan. Their double act, supported by fine work from Owen Teale and Damien Molony lifts this more obscure Pinter into something accessible and enjoyable for even the most Pinter-wary. "

"Stewart clad in sharp pinstripe suits in contrast to McKellan's Spooner, whose baggy suit has seen better days, his flat cap and tennis shoes likewise. Meanwhile Foster (Molony) and Briggs (Teale) sport a fetching line in extreme 70s suits. And with their outfits a particular corner of England is created. "



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Damiac
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Pearl24 wrote:

I had a look at possible tickets for the London run and saw that some of them START at £179 each! No chance.


 It's appearing via NTL Live on December 15th, so if you have a cinema near you that will show it, you could see it then for a lot less than £179 (good grief, can't believe people are willing to pay that amount of money!!)



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