The Corn Is Green
25 April 2022
3.0 out of 5.0 stars
I love a trip to the National Theatre, and had originally booked for The Corn Is Green back in the before times. It’s been a long while, but the production has actually made it round to finally being staged.
The stage design itself is very simplistic, with few props or scenery at all. Most of the play happens on a small raised platform in the middle of the stage representing a cottage, gaining more tangible props and becoming a fully realised set throughout the show.
An interesting part of this staging is that it is directed, on stage, as if the writer himself was willing the story into existence through his words, fleshing the story out as it went along. As much as this is a very intriguing staging tool, I personally found it to hinder the cohesion of the story. As much as it’s based on the life of the author himself, it is a dramatised version that felt like it dragged on a little through the erratic interruptions of the stage directions, never fully letting the audience melt into the plot but instead a constant reminder that it is just a play being staged.
Being set in an impoverished Welsh mining village, I did appreciate that there was quite a bit of Welsh thrown in. However, being a semi-autobiographical play first published in the 30s, it’s definitely very dated. Especially the portrayal of the few women on stage is very cringy and stereotyped to an uncomfortable level.
Overall, an interesting play that I’m glad I got to see, but not one I’d run to see again in a hurry.