Lindsay Duncan and Hilton McRae reveal the full depths of The Dance of Death’s ambiguity in production that is funny and strangely touching. Directed by the Arcola’s own Mehmet Ergen, the couple – married in real life – interact with a naturalness that takes the edge off their barbed attacks on one another, even as they push one another further and further and, almost, over the edge.
August Strindberg’s The Dance Of Death from 1900 has been credited with prefiguring the works of Beckett, Ionesco, Pinter and most notably provided a template for Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? However, in its latest incarnation at the Arcola in Hackney, which is the culmination of a tour started in May, I was forcibly reminded of the dynamic evoked by Noel Coward’s Private Lives – but with far fewer laughs.
Simon Woods’ debut play Hansard, about the parliamentary ruling class is timely, and amusingly preceptive, but ultimately unsatisfying.
Lindsay Duncan and Alex Jennings prove entirely watchable in Hansard, a sharp new play at the National Theatre.
Hansard is a great political play, one that tells us everything about the society we have become and why the impasse of the last three years cannot be easily broken.
With Parliament in uproar upriver, the NT hit a luckily apt moment to stage Simon Woods’ first play Hansard and promote it as a “witty and devastating portrait of the governing class”. Just the night to hurl some fine invective at an audience fancying a torture-a-Tory session.
Highlights of the next new season at London’s National Theatre, running from May to October 2019, include several new productions and new broadcasts and outdoor activity announced to celebrate NT Live’s 10th birthday.
Rufus Norris has unveiled the National Theatre’s plans for 2019 and beyond. Highlights include the world premiere of Small Island adapted by Helen Edmundson from Andrea Levy’s novel, directed by Rufus Norris.
This is a play I know extremely well. My own production (“one of the best the Nuffield Theatre has housed” – Guardian) formed part of my Theatre Studies degree at Lancaster in 1973, the year Noel Coward died. I have seen every major revival, and some dodgy tours, from the splendid Michael Denison and Dulcie Gray version which first inspired me as a teenager at the Grand Theatre Leeds, to glossy London and Chichester productions with Dame Judi, Maria Aitken, Penelope Keith, Geraldine McEwan and Diana Rigg. And the awful one with Lindsay Duncan strutting about in jodhpurs.