WORTH A LOOK?: *****
WHERE? RUNTIME: 110 minutes (no interval)
WHEN? 27/6, opens 3/7 runs to 10/8/19
Playwright Jack Thorne won an Olivier for Harry Potter And The Cursed Child but is probably better known for his BAFTA-winning Channel 4 dramas including This Is England and National Treasure.
- Read on for reasons including how this is the best new play of the year so far
At this 1st preview we were struck by the similarity of the framing device to James Graham’s Labour Of Love and here commentary on the Labour leadership is used to differentiate between 3 acts which take place in 1997, 2007 and 2017.
The play is set in the kitchen of the Newbury home of left wing husband and wife David and Sal who are entertaining son Carl, who is returning home with his new girlfriend, and daughter Polly on a break from Cambridge University, while youngest son Tom is late because he has a detention at school.
This is a comedy with many laugh-out-loud moments and the language in particular is hugely quotable as we learn that teacher mother Sal is close to her children but not afraid to argue with them: ‘I tried Communism once. I ended up with two different types of venereal disease. No one ever washed properly.’
Lesley Sharp is wonderfully warm as Sal (1 of her best zingers is: ”Give me a plate of sprouts and I’ll fart for two days straight.’) but also infuriatingly stubborn when it comes to maintaining the principles by which she has lived her life which can’t help but mean that we get a sense of her disappointment with the choices her children have made.
Husband David Morrissey comes into his own later on and we found him especially moving when he explains to his gathered children the way he has lived his life: ‘Isn’t it through expecting things that change happens?’
The 110 minutes passes in a flash and it’s a real treat to have such a howlingly funny but also quite moving play being brought to life by such a top-notch cast which also includes the always magnificent Kate O’Flynn as the sell-out daughter (look out for the excruciating selfie sequence), Mum‘s Sam Swainsbury conveying prolonged disappointment and newcomers Laurie Davidson and Zoe Boyle in memorable roles.
We’ve found Thorne’s work a bit hit and miss – his A Christmas Carol at the Old Vic is becoming an annual tradition and The End Of History – is as good as anything we’ve seen by him. Don’t miss.