Friday, March 30, 2012
More Dickens, this time from the British theatre company TNT (The New Theatre, not Trinitrotoluene). Founded in 1980, they are largely unknown in Britain but very popular overseas. A bit like the British Council then. In fact, according to China Central TV, they are “the most popular theatre company in the world.” There is a grain of truth in that. Despite their tiny casts of unknowns and even tinier pack-them-in-a-suitcase sets, they are probably the hardest working, most travelled theatre company around. I first came across them when we living in Japan where, since 1992, they have given more foreign language performances in more venues than any other non-Japanese company; at the 2004 Fajr Festival in Tehran (the Muslim World's largest Arts Festival) they won first prize for their Hamlet; and in China their tours regular take in 20 cities, some of which I've never heard of. So tonight was Dickens's David Copperfield, done part straight, part musical. It wasn't the greatest production I've ever seen but it was good, honest theatre to an appreciative audience, performed with invention on a shoestring budget. Hats off to them.