WORTH A LOOK?: ****
WHERE? Vaudeville Theatre RUN TIME: 2 hours (including interval)
WHEN?: 24/11, press night 3/12, runs to 23/2/19
Game of Thrones star Kit Harington last appeared on a West End stage two-and-a-half years ago and we wrote then how a very young audience whooped with delight at his performance.
- Read on for reasons including why it is Johnny Flynn who you will remember most after this
But if it’s Jon Snow (Harington’s character in Game Of Thrones) that the audience is here for at this 2nd preview it is likely to be Johnny Flynn, his co-star here, who they are most likely to remember.
Director Matthew Dunster and Flynn worked together on the award-winning Hangmen but his unhinged, beer-swigging, chainsmoking, television-stealing performance here is closer in tone to his role in this year’s thriller film Beast opposite Jessie Buckley.
True West was written in 1980 by Sam Shepard and is about the sibling rivalry between two estranged brothers who have reconnected.
Flynn plays the older Lee filled with alienation and rage who can’t help but undermine his screenwriter brother as he meets an influential producer.
Our companion turns to us in the interval from our 4th row vantage point and whispers that Flynn is acting Harington off the stage and it is certainly the straighter of the 2 roles but does turn more interesting in the 2nd half.
Harington drew some whooping in his previous West End role when he bared his bottom and there is some excitable giggling when he appears at 1 point in some tight white shorts. But is actually Flynn who shows some skin when he appears bare-chested and throwing beer over himself while attempting to summon inspiration.
Director Dunster is also the brains behind A Very, Very, Very Dark Matter at the Bridge Theatre and there are some interesting touches here, notably a stage reveal towards the close.
Shepard is a writer whose exploration of the division in American families seems particularly pertinent now and this play has much in common with his Buried Child which ran successfully at Trafalgar Studios starring Ed Harris 2 years ago.
In fact so relevant is True West considered now that Paul Dano and Ethan Hawke open in the same play on Broadway after Christmas. Tickets
If it all sounds a little too worthy, it’s actually very funny with Johnny Flynn providing an unforgettable central performance.