20 Aug 2019
Saw it yesterday in the last preview. Clive not only made it, but was at the theatre a good half hour before me!
It seems to be a somewhat thematic season at the Almeida. This one is about a person who believed they were doing the right thing, but then it being pigeonholed as an offence to every religious and racial minority out there. It’s also rather comedic, so there was a lot of awkward laughter, not dissimilar to the Lieutenant or Cyprus Ave, where everyone is realising what it is they are really laughing at. It does turn rather grim toward the end, though not at all in the way we thought it might.
Juliet Stevenson is superb. My criticism of her in Wings was that she made her character difficult to relate to. Just the opposite here. She was a total class act.
The supporting cast was very good, though I thought the guy playing “father” and “the father” could’ve done better. He’s got a thick Scottish accent, but playing 2 different people while sounding exactly the same made it rather confusing. He should’ve done different accents or smth.
Thought the second half of the second act dragged on a bit. The long-ass exchange of monologues was rather tedious.
Bits of staging were unoriginal. The Hunt (appreciably diff’t director but still Almeida) has cast run around the stage in circles to show turmoil. Same thing here. Similarly, the sound effects (bar one) were down to a sole drummer providing the background. Wonderfully done, but done by Jamie Lloyd last year in one of the Pinter series plays…
There is a brilliant bit of casting race/gender-wise. At some point they are all sat in a meeting, and they start prefixing, “as a black male” or “as a Jewish woman”, but the actors are actually a black woman and a black guy, respectively. Brings the point home a bit.
Cheapskate enjoyment value: £7, maybe could go up to £10 if they do something about the pace of the second act.