WORTH A LOOK?: ****
WHERE: Bridge Theatre
WHEN: 2/6, press night 6/6, runs to 24/6/18
RUN TIME: 90 minutes without interval
UPDATE: This show returns to The Bridge for 26 performances from January 2019
Laura Linney made her UK stage debut last night as the titular Lucy Barton with this monologue adapted from the 5th novel by Elizabeth Strout which was longlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize
- Read on for reasons including how Linney returns to Tales Of The City soon
It is the story of a complicated mother/daughter relationship and begins during a conversation between the two while Lucy is being treated in a New York hospital and her mother is refusing to leave her bedside.
Linney impersonates her mother during a tremendous feat of memory when she quickly gains the audience’s attention and never lets it from her grasp during an hour and a half which passed in a flash in her company.
Lucy’s childhood was an unhappy one and we learn that, although she was born into a poverty which contributed to her loneliness, she found solace in books which fuelled her passion for writing.
It is when she documents the abuse that she suffered at the hands of her father that the writing is at its most enthralling and we learn of Lucy’s fear of snakes, not least when she was trapped in a truck cab with one when she was locked in as punishment.
We were big fans of the televised adaptation of Armistead Maupin’s Tales Of The City series where Linney starred as the young heroine finding her feet in San Francisco and we learn from the programme here that she is soon to star in another 10-episode series for Netflix.
The qualities that brought her to our attention there – an open-hearted warmth and honesty which can sometimes also encompass naivety – are very much in place here.
Not least when Lucy tells us about a neighbour and the kindness he displays when she envies the couples suffering from AIDS surrounding her in New York because at least they have found someone to love and who loves them.
Linney went on from Tales Of The City to win numerous awards (she’s been shortlisted for 3 Oscars and 4 Tonys), bagging 4 Emmys and 2 Golden Globes.
She is directed here by veteran Richard Eyre who recently helmed King Lear starring Anthony Hopkins for BBC1.
It’s a thrilling watch, with Linney and Eyre pulling out all the stops, to minimise the limitations of the monologue form.