Working in the theatre world can be tough. Working in Shakespearean theatre can be even worse. Working in Shakespearean theatre at the height of World War II directly in the path of air raids is downright tragic.
Such is the setting for the tragic comedy The Dresser. The play is primarily focused around Sir, a former golden child of classical theatre now ailing from exhaustion, and his extremely loyal (and just as equally unappreciated) dresser, Norman.
Sir is played by the Olivier-Award winner Ken Scott, and Norman is realized by BAFTA Award-winner Reece Shearsmith.
The Dresser often toys with the idea of the phrase "The show must go on" ("and on, and on, and on, and on" Sir quips quite often throughout the duration of the piece), in relation to both aging out of the stage you once thrived on, as well as persevering in a tasking and chaotic world.
The first act of the play is quick to make light of a dark situation, with an abundance of quips and quick cracks at each characters expense. But as the play moves along post-intermission, the jokes don't stop coming, only this time they're much more poignant and used as an equal and opposite highlight of their plight.
If you are interested in what goes on behind the scenes in the theatre world, in Shakespearean theatre, or in close, interpersonal character dramas, then this is definitely worth your watch.
The interesting thing about seeing The Dresser in The Duke of York Theatre is that you can actually see a bit of the director and theatre technician's booth, depending on where you are located. Sean Foley, the show's director and a triple threat Olivier-Award nominee in the fields of acting, writing, and directing, could often be seen looking at his screen, hand waving each motion through along with the pace and tempo of each scene.
Foley's booth is located in the booth at the top right corner of this image.
The Duke of York is also a great venue as a lot of it has been recently refurbished, including new sitting areas, lounges, a revamped Terrace bar, and men and women's toilets. They also offer drinks and food delivered straight to your seat for reasonable prices throughout the duration of the show.
The Dresser will be running at The Duke of York Theatre until the 14th of January, 2017.