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Book Report: Rock'n'Roll

Your Humble Blogger has been reading a lot of plays, lately. Well, and often good ones, too. I am a big fan of Tom Stoppard, as Gentle Readers may have guessed. I had heard very good things about Rock’n’Roll, not only because Rufus Sewell played the lead, but, er, sorry, lost my train of thought, there. Something about Rufus Sewell, anyway.

I’m afraid that while there did seem to be some good bits in this play, I can’t say as it’s one of my favorites, even for Late Stoppard. I mean, I am pretty sure I like everything he wrote before, oh, 1985 more than everything he wrote after that, just as a matter of my personal taste. The clever-clever formalist stuff tickles my proverbial, while the rethinking of history he is on about in the last twenty years, while still interesting and enjoyable, doesn’t quite hit me in the same way. In this play, particularly, I can’t help thinking that is wasn’t sufficiently Stoppardesque. It’s a pretty darned straightforward play. The main characters are interesting, and the moments between them are interesting, and I am glad, I suppose, that somebody in the theater is using the theater to look at history in that way. But it isn’t— I suppose it isn’t delightful. In the way that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is full of delight and charm, that Jumpers and Travesties and of course On the Razzle and Rough Crossing are full of delights. And perhaps my favorite of his plays these days is Dogg’s Hamlet and Cahoot’s Macbeth, which manages to be at once a clever-clever formalist play about playwriting, a look at history and politics, and an exposition of Wittgenstein.

Hm. I wonder if I could con a local theater into doing Dogg/Cahoot.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,
-Vardibidian.

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