28 January 2008

The Vertical Hour by David Hare

Dennis - Joseph Kloska
Oliver - Anton Lesser
Terri- Wunmi Mosaku
Philip - Tom Riley
Nadia - Indira Varma

Directed by Jeremy Herrin
Designed by Mike Britton

seen during it's UK premiere run at the Royal Court Theatre downstairs.

Actor in the audience:- Danny Lee Wynter returned to his former employers tonight and sat in the very front (and neck punishing) row.

There are some interesting textures to this production and I am going to link both The Guardian and The Times for their thoughtful insights and comparison to the Broadway premiere run. As it happens, the first review I read was from The Telegraph and I thought I'd clicked on the wrong play.

I have adored seeing Bill Nighy on the stage but as Anton Lesser revealed more and more of his character, I could not help thinking this role was much better played by an actor whom we had hitherto not considered a lothario or, forgive me Anton, particularly heart-throb material.

David Hare is a master of articulating a debate close to his heart with objectivity and intense intimate drama. I like to think that Indira Varma's elegant but personable beauty was also better cast than Julianne Moore (who I adore in less aggressive roles).

I can't stop thinking about this play. Yes, as always Hare gave great meat to his feelings on the crime of war but I enjoyed picking over the vegetables too. His political batonage seemed merely some text upon which to develop the relationship and character arcs. There were a couple of clunky moments but I'm uneasy with perfection!

In case you're wondering, Nadia says something like - In combat medicine, there's this moment after a disaster or a shooting, called the vertical hour, when you can actually be of some use.

Another line had my shoulders vibrating for several seconds! I will need to read the text to remind myself of which line that might have been.