Notes from last night’s live theatre event from NTLive. Thursday 1 Sep 2016

Notes from Last Night not only ventures into purely musical experiences but is also partial to a bit of live theatre. I’m really grateful that a couple of our local cinemas (one independent – the charming Electric Picture House in Wotton-under-Edge, and the national Cineworld) feature live theatre and opera events.

Last night’s live screening was the National Theatre’s 2016 production of Terence Rattigan’s The Deep Blue Sea. It’s an emotional portrayal of one woman’s life in 1952 with the role of heroine Hester Collyer breathtakingly performed by Helen McCrory. At recurring points in the production, The Flamingos’ poignant rendition of ‘I Only Have Eyes for You’ plays out of the ageing portable record player. It’s beautifully evocative and sits perfectly in the diegesis – the lyrics of the song underlie the passionate, heart-aching and emotionally manipulative love Hester shares for her lover, Freddie.

It wasn’t until I checked the song out today that I realised that the Flamingos’ version of the song wasn’t released until 1959. Originally written in 1934, it was popularised by Frank Sinatra in 1945. His recording is far more up tempo – very different from the ethereal dreaminess created by the Flamingos. So my thought is, does it matter if the rendition of the song didn’t exist when the play was written, and subsequently set by the Director? IMDB for example, is full of people rushing to point out ‘goofs’. But given the great weight of emotional nuance the 1959 rendition gives to the piece, should we or can we ignore the fact that the music couldn’t have existed in the diegetic world of 1952?

Debbie, Notes From Last Night

For more information on NTLive events, visit: ntlive.nationaltheatre.org.uk