NABOKV-L post 0008974, Thu, 27 Nov 2003 08:48:46 -0800

Review of NZ LO by One of NABOKV-L's more active agents

----- Original Message -----
From: Brian Boyd (FOA ENG)
To: 'Vladimir Nabokov Forum'
Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2003 7:33 PM
Subject: RE: NZ Play from Lolita, a "complete, unflinching stunner" ...

From Brian Boyd:

Since Nabokv-L has run a New Zealand Herald review and brief rating of the stage adaptation of Lolita by Auckland's Silo Theatre(season November 6-29), I thought the List might be interested in a first-hand report by one of Nabokv-L's more active Auckland agents:

Lolita, adapted and directed by Colin Mitchell, is the second part of a double bill, To Russia with Love, the first part being an original play about Russian mail-order brides. Each play lasts forty minutes.

The Silo Theatre is an adventurous professional theatre of the off-off-Broadway sort, where youngish directors and performers try out mostly new plays, although they also occasionally perform classics. Lolita is part of an annual series of Classic Adaptations, devoted to a different country each year, in which fledgling directors are mentored by more experienced directors.

The Lolita play was faithful to the book, even reverential, but rather unadventurous and unimaginative. It consisted largely of a monologue by Humbert (played by Jon Brazier), reciting and enacting a well-selected collage of the text of the novel (considerably more than ninety-five per cent of what he said came verbatim from Nabokov's text), with an occasional dualogue with Lolita (played by Anna Hutchison), again following the novel closely where it could. To me it seemed like a partially dramatized plot summary, hurrying through the key scenes of the book: the last encounter with Annabel, Lolita on the "piazza," licking the speck out of her eye, the davenport scene, Charlotte's proposal, her death, the car ride from Camp Q, the Enchanted Hunters (including Quilty on the verandah), Beardsley, Soda pop, Chestnut Court, Elphinstone, Coalmont, Pavor Manor. It was competently directed and acted, except that Anna Hutchison had too much of the giggliness of Dominique Swain in the 1998 Adrian Lyne film version of the novel-although she was not quite as vacuously infantile as the Swain Lolita. Hutchison also played-or played Lolita mimicking-the Camp Q booklet, Miss Pratt's official Beardsley College welcome and her interrogation of "Mr Haze" as an old-fashioned Continental father.

There was never quite time for the psychological richness of any scene to be developed, never quite enough finesse in the acting (Brazier began well on his own, but was less convincing opposite his Lolita and then as he had to careen through the later stages of the plot), never quite the right balance in the power relationships between Humbert and Lolita. As a version of the novel, it seemed more faithful to the spirit of the book than either the Kubrick or Lyne films, yet it failed to make scenes that live in the novel breathe with independently viable life and sense on stage.

-----Original Message-----
From: D. Barton Johnson []
Sent: Sunday, 23 November 2003 7:11 a.m.
Subject: NZ Play from Lolita, a "complete, unflinching stunner" ...

----- Original Message -----
From: Sandy P. Klein
Sent: Saturday, November 22, 2003 9:22 AM
Subject: Then there's Lolita, a "complete, unflinching stunner" ...

Sunday November 23, 2003

Best of the weekend



To Russia With Love is a SiLo Classic Adaptations project that supports young directors. It consists of two new 40-minute works and is on tonight at the SiLo Theatre. First up is Where Are You My Only One? Written and directed by Vanessa Rhodes, the play, starring David Aston, Nicola Murphy and Kate Bartlett, explores the relationship between a lonely Kiwi dairy farmer and his Russian princess. Then there's Lolita, a "complete, unflinching stunner", says Herald reviewer Francis Till. It is adapted from Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov's banned work, Lolita. Anna Hutchison plays the 12-year-old nymphet and Jon Brazier is reviled paedophile Humbert Humbert.

To Russia With Love, SiLo Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, tonight, at 8, tickets $18-$22. Ph (09) 300 3700

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