So we were invited to the Almeida to see a premiere play, penned by Nick Dear and directed by the great Richard Eyre. The play has been showing since November 8th and has been blessed with a packed house from the start. Walking in, we felt we were going to be in for a treat; we were not mistaken.
The play sets out to tell the story of Edward Thomas, albeit briefly and in memory form. Its not easy to hold someones attention for 2 hours, well OK, it’s not easy to hold my attention for more than an hour without the fidgeting setting in. However, from the moment the lights went down and we’re presented with Helen, Edwards wife, I was enthralled. So much so that when the lights came up for the interval I found myself begging the stage to come back to life, like a cliff-hanger season finale on a favourite TV show, I didn’t want it to end.
The performances were breath taking, the dialog and presence conveyed by every member of the cast was absolutely inspiring. Its difficult to single out any one performance, Hattie Morahan as Helen had us on the edge of our seat, and Pip Carter as Edward ensured we felt the confusion and pain that was running through this character. All told the casting of this epic performance, is spot on. Of course, Richard Eyre at the helm helps, he clearly knows how to get the best out of his actors.
I want to make special note to the lighting, Peter Mumford has created something very special, not once did the lighting distract you from what you were supposed to be watching, but more importantly, when you stopped to breathe and only when the words stopped you noticed the lighting, but you don’t see it as lighting. Subliminally adding that forth dimension to the performance, the lighting was, quite frankly, amazing.
Director: Richard Eyre
- Edward Thomas: Pip Carter
- Helen Thomas: Hattie Morahan
- Philip Thomas: Ifan Huw Dafydd
- Robert Frost: Shaun Dooley
- Bott/Major Lushington: Dan Poole
- Eleanor Farjeon: Pandora Colin
If you want to see one thing over the Christmas period, then it has to be this. With a cafe, bar and restaurant on site it is easy to make a whole evening vanish effortlessly and incredibly enjoyably. Seriously we cannot recommend this enough, FIVE out of FIVE, but you only have until 12th January 2013.
Book directly via Almeida Theatre and make sure you get yourself a brochure, it contains some cool background and an interview with the writer, Nick Dear.
Images courtesy of The Almeida