Downstate at the National Theatre is a remarkable thing. An absolute masterpiece of writing, performed so sensitively and with such bravery.
At last, Rufus Norris’ National Theatre has come of age. Breathtaking, brave and brilliantly acted, Downstate is a landmark play. It’s listed as a ‘collaboration’ between NT and Steppenwolf, but the Chicago company’s prints are all over this glistening weapon.
Downstate is a challenging, difficult play with humour and wit inflected with wisdom, carefully balancing entertainment without detracting from the seriousness of the subject matter.
Whether rehabilitation is truly possible for such serious crimes committed by sex offenders, Bruce Norris never really decides, leaving only a dramatically engaging but morally troubling outcome in Downstate at the National Theatre.