“We in this country,” says the red judge grandly, “Do not have trial by media or by mobs”. Hmm. Tell that to anyone now staring confusedly at the wreckage of reputation and career because an employer’s took instant fright at a Twitterstorm.
This is a substantial, gently-moving play – 2 hrs 45 minutes – but in its meditation on life, attrition, middle-aged disappointment, family entanglements and memory it is as engrossing as Chekhov can be. But it is set nearer in time – 1953 – and closer to home: NC Hunter was a West End monarch in the age of Rattigan
Insignificance radiates current themes. The age of nuclear dread is back, after all, and Einstein’s regret about what his discoveries led to, sharp at the play’s end, is for us too. America is again producing rightist thugs with a morbid dread of the unAmerican world; only instead of McCarthyist accusations today we have fake news.