On The Ceiling
Opened 12 Sep 2005
Written: by Nigel Planer
Directed: Jennie Darnell
Producer: Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company
Cast: Ron Cook & Ralf Little
Synopsis: The Sistine Chapel ceiling - 1508, The blockbuster project of the Renaissance world..... But this time the pope has surely backed a loser: The man he's put in charge is simply not up to the job - a tempremental sculptor with next to no experience of painting. He didn't even want the job in the first place and has never done anything remotely on this scale. He's all over the place - when he remembers to turn up for work! And who has to cover for him? Who has to put in the hours, teach him his craft, patch up his mistakes, deal with his tantrums and get the job done? Who? That's right - like any big project it's the little guys, the professionals, the men who've been doing this kind of thing all their lives...They're the ones that are actually going to have to make it happen. As for gratitude, they'll be lucky if he even remembers to pay them!
What the critics had to say.....
NICHOLAS DE JONGH for THE EVENING STANDARD says, "Fails to pass for humour...piffle." MICHAEL COVENEY for THE INDEPENDENT says, "The play goes nowhere fast, and the double act of Cook and Ralf Little is fatally unstruck with bile or animus of any kind...If I were not averse to stating the bleedin' obvious, I'd say the whole thing was as riveting as watching paint dry." MICHAEL BILLINGTON for THE GUARDIAN says, "While I don't doubt Planer's sincerity, his play feels like an extended revue-sketch that aspires to the ceiling but rarely gets off the ground." BENEDICT NIGHTINGALE for THE TIMES says, "Rather glum comedy...It’s all very well-intentioned and, given the skills of Cook and Little, modestly entertaining. But I wish Planer had made me laugh, care and think rather more." CHARLES SPENCER for THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "Planer has almost nothing of interest to say about either Michelangelo or his masterpiece and one leaves this crass, broken-backed play glumly concluding that it is the theatrical equivalent of painting by numbers."