An exceptional piece of theatre, Girl on an Altar at the Kiln Theatre remakes a story that is part of Western cultural heritage, with deceptive ease, as though it could have happened yesterday.
Don’t go to Rooms if you want an easy, escapist 75 minutes, but do go for language, atmosphere, the darkest corners of your own psyches touched with raw beauty.
My problem with Aristocrats is that there is often a lot happening and sometimes it too easily diverts attention from the central narrative.
Director Lyndsey Turner is clearly impatient with the tradition of playing this melancholy drama as a tribute to Chekhov, and her production is thoroughly anti-naturalistic.
Aristocrats does show once again Brian Friel’s remarkable ability to understand and cross religious and personal boundaries, but this time it fails to grapple the heart with quite the keenness of some of his other work.
There’s little for the cast to improve because the faults in Aristocrats lie with Friel. This production draws-out all of the core themes but cannot overcome the play’s reliance on heavy exposition and failure to satisfactorily resolve its own questions about the past of these characters.
Paul Higgins and James Laurenson will join the previously announced Elaine Cassidy, David Dawson, David Ganly, Emmet Kirwan, Aisling Loftus, Ciaran McIntyre and Eileen Walsh in the cast for Brian Friel’s play Aristocrats, at the Donmar Warehouse from 2 August to 22 September 2018 (press night is 9 August).
There’s little sense of an over-arching plot in Absolute Hell which may turn some off but Hill-Gibbins proves that it isn’t needed, the connective tissue that holds them together is the sticky floor of the club as much as anything.