“What will happen in England after we have won this war? Bunting! Bunting everywhere!” Richard Bean and Oliver Chris’ new play Jack Absolute Flies Again at the National Theatre takes R.B. Sheridan’s 1775 farce The Rivals and updates the setting to a Sussex country house in The Battle of Britain. The romantic pursuits, mistaken identities and malapropisms from The Rivals are combined with Bean’s typically bawdy sense of humour, some impressive aerial dogfights and a dose of WWII patriotism. The result is an entertaining, albeit safe and slightly too long, comedy with pathos.
Delayed by Covid for over two years, Jack Absolute Flies Again finally lands on the Olivier stage when we have never needed Richard Bean and Oliver Chris’ goofy and hilarious romp more. An adaptation of Sheridan’s The Rivals relocated to a 1940s air base on a Sussex estate, there is a care in the construction of the play and a determination that everyone watching should have a good time that speaks to a wider need for lighter fare.
The Harry Potter team presents a hyped up state-of-the-family play in The End Of History and it just falls flat on its face.
What’s so great about Jack Thorne’s play The End of History (as well as his consistently interesting use of stage directions) is that it has made me pause to think but is all wrapped up in this absorbing family comedy.
In The End of History Thorne shuffles various perspectives within the family, examining their different experiences of the same events from multiple angles, and while these differences drive wedges between them, ultimately and with hope for the future, he explores the ties that keep people together.
David Morrissey and Lesley Sharp will play husband and wife in the world premiere of Jack Thorne’s new play the end of history…, directed by Royal Court Theatre associate director John Tiffany.