THEATRE REVIEW: Husbands and Sons starring Anne-Marie Duff

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

WHERE: National Theatre

WHEN: 5/2, running to 10/2

What do you get if you mash-up three of D.H. Lawrence’s greatest dramas set over 100 years ago in a village on the border of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire where the pit dominates all?

Adapted by Ben Power and directed by Marianne Elliott (Curious Incident, War Horse), this is the most ambitious and successful work we’ve seen at the National for a long time, although it did feel slightly too long at three hours with an interval.

We’ve complained long and hard about the need for better female roles and here we have Anne-Marie Duff (from TV’s From Darkness) as a subjugated wife with a shot at escape and happiness and Louise Brealey (from TV’s Sherlock) as a wronged wife placing too much faith in material possessions when she should be challenging her domineering mother-in-law played beautifully by Susan Brown.

The set is intentionally cluttered and focuses on the kitchen of the three homes where each story revolves and occasionally intersects. Best of all is the seating in the pit area where we have the privilege to be. The entire audience in this section swaps seats at the interval to see the set from an entirely opposing viewpoint.

Experimental, challenging, hugely successful and definitely worth catching if you can.

  • Trailer via YouTube courtesy National Theatre. Tickets here.
  • Enjoyed this review? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham

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