AMY’S VIEW To 20 November.


by David Hare..

Nottingham Playhouse Wellington Circus NG1 5AF To 20 November 2010.
Tue-Sat 7.45pm Mat Thu 1.30pm.
Audio-described 17 Nov.
BSL Signed 19 Nov.
Post-show Discussion 16 Nov.
Runs 2hr 25min One interval.

TICKETS: 0115 941 9419.
Review: Alan Geary: 9 November.

Good play; good production.
At a straightforward level Amy’s View is much less stridently angry than some of David Hare’s other work. Compared with, say, The Permanent Way you’d never even know it’s from the same playwright.

It makes some telling points of course, unequivocally, but it isn’t a polemical battering-ram masquerading as a play in the way the railway play is. Amy’s View isn’t short on theme – far from it – but it’s the characters, particularly its two principal women, wherein lies the main interest.

Generally speaking, this is a female good, male bad play. And we care more about mother and daughter, Esme (Julia Watson) and Amy (Kirsty Besterman) – both beautifully played – than we do about the men. Without giving an engaging and well-crafted plot away, mother’s an old-fashioned actress, a widow, who falls on hard times, while daughter, the play’s moral centre, gets herself into a less than ideal relationship.

Covering as it does the period from the start of the Thatcher years up to 1995, the play encompasses a lot. It’s concerned with media values, the relevance of live theatre in a culture of TV and video, the extent to which the critic is a champion of, or spokesman for, the public conceived of as consumers. It’s about the eighties proliferation of film violence – or “action”, as go-getting husband Dominic (Ryan Early) euphemistically calls it.

Away from media/show biz, the play looks at two generation gaps, the growth of pressure group/victim culture and lack of confidence in our national institutions, the suburbanisation of our countryside, the steady transformation of England into Englandland; and, specifically, the eighties Lloyds underwriters crash.

Does humanity go under? “Not quite” is Hare’s apparent answer: even though the surface story has already ended tragically, the play concludes on an upbeat note. The last scene, where a realistic Pangbourne drawing-room is transformed into an austere, equally realistic, backstage in a theatre, is a striking contrast to what’s gone before.

Directed by Zoë Waterman, this will appeal at a number of levels, not least because it’s a play about theatre.

Dominic: Ryan Early.
Amy: Kirsty Besterman.
Evelyn: Margaret Robertson.
Esme: Julia Watson.
Frank: Robin Bowerman.
Toby: Thomas Eyre.

Director: Zoë Waterman.
Designer: Bronia Housman.
Lighting: Richard G Jones.
Sound: Drew Baumohl.
Composer: Jonathan Girling.
Featured artist: Eirian Bell.

2010-11-13 12:22:22

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