THEATRE REVIEW: Buried Child starring Ed Harris

WORTH A LOOK?: ****1/2

WHERE: Trafalgar Studios

WHEN: 17/11 (matinee), press night 1/12, runs until 18/2/17

We were in the audience for five-times Oscar nominee Ed Harris’ fourth preview for his West End debut in this Broadway transfer in which he appears alongside his real-life wife Amy Madigan.

  • Read on for reasons including our first impressions of Westworld star Ed Harris’ new role

This New York production of Sam Shepard’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play is set in 1979 rural America as it reels from a recession and political unrest. Similarities between then given the recent American presidential election?

Harris (one of the main reasons to be transfixed by current HBO blockbuster Westworld) is on stage the whole time and gives a great performance. He doesn’t speak much, maybe only 20 per cent of time, but is giving a convincing emotional turn influenced by a drop of the hard stuff but also subtle.

The cast elsewhere is strong enough to give Harris a run for his money. Real-life wife Madigan makes us think of Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter in Silence Of The Lambs.

Barnaby Kay gives real-depth to his character and Charlotte Hope (Game Of Thrones) is outstanding, a real rising star.

We wonder whether Buried Child might be a bit of a tough sell as this early preview was little more than two-thirds full in a theatre which has become used to being a sell-out night after night with a run of Jamie Lloyd hits.

We’re not big fans of much of modern American literature and a lack of depth to some of the characters but this proved an exception.

Its subject matter may be dark: death, a lack of personal relationships, power over others, but it’s still funny in places.
We enjoyed it far more than expected. Westworld may well be the reason a new generation of fans are drawn to Harris and Buried Child but on the evidence of this preview that would be no bad thing.
  • Picture courtesy ATG Tickets.  Tickets
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