Wednesday, 16 July 2014


Caught Northern Stage's production of Joseph Heller's Catch-22 at the Nuffield just over a month ago. Brief recollections: stunning set, dominated by the fuselage of a bomber, creating unusual angled spaces to work in. Throughout there was deft characterisation, some genuinely affecting moments (the death in the aircraft, the non-arrest of a rapist and murderer, medical scenes linger vividly). I loved the spots of music and choreographed movement and wanted more; though I wanted about half an hour less of the whole thing, which felt too long: Heller's work isn'tt carried forward by any plot imperative. Apparently Heller wouldn't let anyone else adapt his novel, but his own inflated adaptation (which was put on here) has not had many takers. But it's hard to imagine the text being done greater justice than in this production. The meaning of the expression 'Catch-22' came over clearly, the corruption of officers in collusion with  the black market and the use of black humour as a way of processing the unspeakable still carries a punch. Phillip Arditti compelling as Yosarian. Lots of the audience were complaining about the cold in the theatre. I rather liked it.

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