Not Now by David Ireland. The Finborough Theatre, 118 Finborough Road, London SW10 to 26 November 2018. 4****. William Russell

The morning after his father’s funeral in Belfast Matthew is practising the Now is the winter of our discontent speech from Richard 111 for an audition he is due to attend at RADA in London. He has adopted a grotesque English accent and although we don’t know why he is doing it whoever hears him is going to tell him to stop. He is drinking his breakfast coffee, snacking intermittently on a croissant and doing his speech when, unseen to him, his uncle Ray enters. The conversation between the pair that follows is funny, sad – pretences are stripped away – and ultimately heart warming. The play lasts about an hour and Ireland has come up with a splendid clash between the generations – Ray thinks Stephen King the greatest writer ever, is totally ignorant of the plays of Shakespeare, but knows that what his nephew is doing is terrible. In the course of what follows we learn a lot about Ray and Matthew learns something about acting. Ireland tends to include scenes of violence in his work but here all is words, confessions, secrets disclosed. Matthew Blaney’s Richard has to be seen to be believed, and he creates splendidly a rather arrogant young man who is, at the same time, full of self doubt – will he leave Belfast for that audition or stay in his comfort zone? Stephen Kennedy as Uncle Ray, apparently in command of his world, is revealed as anything but – one feels for him as he stops his nephew from doing something silly and staying in Belfast whole revealing his own secret. He is not gay. Neither is Matthew – well maybe. But Ray has other problems. The result is a thoroughly satisfying beautifully crafted work directed by Max Elton with a sureness of touch that allows it to grow.

Matthew Blaney: Matthew.

Stephen Kennedy: Ray.

Director: Max Elton.

Designer: cecil Calf.

Lighting Designer: Mattis Larsen.

Sound Designer and Composer: Jack Baxter.

Production Photographs: Lidia Crisafulli.

ReviewsGate Copyright Protection