I’M GONNA PRAY FOR YOU SO HARD. 4Star****, London, to 25 03

by Halley Feiffer.
4Stars ****

The Finborough Theatre, 118 Finborough Road, London SW10 9ED to 25 March.
Tues – Sat 7.30pm. Mat Sat & Sun 3pm.
Runs 90 mins No interval.

Review: William Russell 3 March.

A finely acted disturbing two hander

To belong to a theatrical dynasty is a problem for offspring who have to live up to their parents’ achievements, not to mention those of all who went before. Think the Redgraves for starters. It is this predicament – opt instead for a career in another world is the answer –which is explored by Hailey Feiffer n this extremely well performed but not all that edifying two hander.

Set in an apartment in New York belonging David, (Adrian Lukas on top, malevolent form as a successful playwright and screenwriter_, we find him confronting his daughter Ella,( Jill Interknits dazzling as a young actress with a role in The Seagull, not that of Nina) as they wait for the reviews of her play to appear.

Their relationship is peculiar to say the least, there being an awful lot of Daddy hugging this large baby girl as they drink white wine, pop pills, smoke dope, do cocaine while he undermines her at every step of the way. He wants her to be a star, but not to outshine his star, and argues that if she cannot make it she should write a play. Heaven knows why. Meanwhile mother is off stage, seemingly an invalid confined to her bedroom, and never appears, only interrupting once to tell them to shut up as their histrionics start to reach too many decibels.

The second act is set five years later when we discover that the tables have been turned and that the daughter is her father’s daughter in every respect. It is very well acted, and the tension is screwed up as we expect something awful to happen. But in spite of the skill of both players these two people are extremely unpleasant and kind of deserve one another so one never really cares how they end up, and it is not happily.

That real life sons and daughters have had problems in not achieving the greatness of their parents is undeniable. Show business is littered with such casualties of mummy’s or daddy’s fame. On the other hand, sometimes the son matches, maybe even outdoes, the father – look at Kirk and Michael Douglas. The same goes for fathers and daughters – take Jane and Henry Fonda. Given these, however, it is more a case of Judy and Lisa.

Interesting, funny, extremely unnerving, very well directed and played, it is possibly a genuine cri de cour , Ms Feiffer having a famous father, but the verdict is: go for the players rather than the play.

David: Adrian Lukis.
Ella: Jill Winternitz.
Woman’s Voice: Paddy Navin.

Director: Jake Smith.
Set and Costume Designer: Anna Reid.
Lighting Designer: Jack Weir.
Sound Designer: Jon McLeod.

2017-03-04 10:48:25

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