WORTH A LOOK?: *****
WHEN: 8/6, press night 12/6, runs to 28/7/18
RUN TIME: 2 hours and 35 minutes (with 15 minute interval)
Star Lia Williams’ last two plays (Oresteia and Mary Stuart) transferred into the West End from their runs at the Almeida and it would not surprise us in the least if that feat was repeated here.
- Read on for reasons including why Williams’ performance is the best by any actress this year
Maggie Smith won her only Best Actress Oscar (she also won for Best Supporting Actress) for her title role in the 1969 film of the Muriel Spark novel.
It’s a plum role and one Williams makes her own despite the familiarity of a Scottish accent boasting of the ‘creme de la creme’ of ‘my girls’.
Set in 1930s Edinburgh, it is the story of the titular teacher who describes herself as being in her prime and takes six 10-year-old girls under her wing to give them special tutoring about her own love life and travels, promoting art history, classical studies and fascism.
The education prompts the girls to stand out from their classmates and leads to the teacher’s downfall.
Directed by Polly Findlay, the set is simple with little more than chairs being brought on and off to help signify the school. Sylvestra Le Touzel is a joy as fellow teacher Miss Mackay who despairs at Miss Brodie’s methods.
The schoolgirls are also especially strong with Rona Morison particularly memorable in a role much like Arya Stark’s in Game Of Thrones, bringing a youthful menace to the group.
But it’s Williams’ star turn which had us engrossed. She’s so good that it’s almost impossible to concentrate on anything else when she’s floating across the stage in her pomp.
Sheridan Smith won our Best Actress monsta in 2015, Jade Anouka a year later and Imelda Staunton last year. Williams is definitely leading the pack as we’re halfway through 2018.
Cool 5 stars! I’m going next Saturday and this has whetted my appetite nicely, thank you!