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The Misanthrope - Keira Knightley's West End debut - Telegraph.

Well we Paines enjoyed each other's company, and the rapid reviews in the taxi home were fun. "I have never seen a corset sag before", "my that's a clavicle and a half, she'll have his eye out with that", "she needs more pie and less pilates" were good samples of the female Paines' reactions. The play, however, is trash and the performances were strained in the extreme. Ms Knightley needs the 40 optical pounds added by a movie camera to be attractive. Damien Lewis, a fine actor stuck in the shallows, went over the top heroically and must have wished he was facing machine gun fire not an audience squirming with embarrassment.

Overall, the play was poor, trite and tedious. The rhymes were schoolboy stuff and the best laugh came when Alceste observed (if memory serves);

"They will speak praise of a pile of shit, If they've dressed up and paid 50 pounds for it"

Quite. I have been disappointed in a theatre before, but on this occasion I felt I had been mugged.  The piece was difficult in the original, precisely because all the characters are intentionally unsympathetic. In the modern version, they are simply tedious Guardian-reading whingers. We could not wait for it to end.

Don't go. Life is too short.

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