On the surface Albion may be a play about a woman restoring a garden, but once you dig beneath the topsoil this play is about a complicated, nostalgic and divided society, struggling to reason with its national identity.
Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews for the revival of Mike Bartlett’s play Albion at the Almeida Theatre.
Albion is a meaty, emotional and funny play with a superb Victoria Hamilton drawing out the complexity of Audrey, even if you don’t feel sorry for her.
The Almeida Theatre has announced the full cast for its revival of Mike Bartlett’s Albion, directed by Rupert Goold, running from 3-29 February 2020 (press night is 5 February) following the play’s acclaimed run in 2017.
Opening just before Christmas to rave reviews, the London version of the multi-award-winning Broadway hit Hamilton has won its first major prize outside the USA – Best Musical at the 2017 Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards.
How to split these three? Why would you even want to. Their effortless grace, their ferociously detailed complexity, their heart-breaking connectivity, all three will live long in my mind.
Albion has strong writing, intriguing characters and one barn-storming lead role. However, it is also flabby, predictable and clichéd so, despite its various strengths, it amounts to a frustrating evening.
Jez Butterworth’s The Ferryman, James Graham’s Ink and the National’s revival of Sondheim’s Follies dominate the shortlists for the 2017 Evening Standard Theatre Awards.
Rupert Goold’s previous, James Graham’s Ink, went on to enjoy its present run in the West End. For sheer entertainment value, I’ll be amazed if Mike Bartlett’s stirring eulogy for a disappearing but not completely gone England and Englishness doesn’t go the same way.
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.
Both Audrey and Anna’s behaviour hover often on the edge of psychological incredibility – especially if you actually are a woman – but then so have all the great tales from Medea to Lady Macbeth.