Albion begins with Audrey, played with indefatigable energy by Victoria Hamilton, in the garden of her deceased uncle’s family home, deep in the English countryside. She has bought the property, which boasts a historic 1920s garden, now much overgrown, which a First World War veteran once formed into a pastoral paradise fit for heroes.
Text can sometimes be a prison. At its best, postwar British theatre is a writer’s theatre, with the great pensmiths — from Samuel Beckett, John Osborne and Harold Pinter to Caryl Churchill, Martin Crimp and Sarah Kane — carving out visions of everyday humanity in all our agonies and glee.
Because of the instability of the present there’s always a faint whiff of nostalgia for the old certainties of the past. And the Cold War era has its very own allure. This can be seen in two current successes: that of the revival of Tom Stoppard’s 1988 play, Hapgood, and of a new play by American playwright Mia Chung, You for Me for You, which takes a look behind the bamboo curtain at North Korea. When it was first staged, Stoppard’s play was widely seen as incomprehensible, with a labyrinthine plot which puzzled not only the characters of the story itself, but audiences as well. And Cold War certainties are surely not so comforting if they are, well, uncertain.
STOPPARD’S MASTERWORK ON THE ROAD AGAIN It’s a play of dazzling ideas, scientific and philosophical: Tom Stoppard at his most provocative. In 1993 the NT production won an Olivier; for some it is the greatest modern play. It artfully expands … Continue reading →
Since I started writing about theatre in 1996, I’ve had the privilege of attending four world premieres of Tom Stoppard plays – well, actually, six if you break a trilogy into its component parts. As a very fledging correspondent, I was totally mystified by the Greek and Latin lessons of The Invention of Love, at […]