WELCOME HOME, CAPTAIN FOX, London, to 16 April

Welcome Home, Captain Fox!
By Jean Anouilh in a new version by Anthony Weigh

Donmar Warehouse, to April 16
41 Earlham Street,
London WC2H 9LX

7.30, mats Thurs, Sat 2.30pm 

Box Office: 0844 871 7624 (Booking fee of £2.50 per transaction)
Telephone Mon-Sat 9am-10pm, Sun 10am-8pm
In person, Mon-Sat, 10am-curtain up (No booking fee)

Runs: 2hr 20mins incl interval

Review by Carole Woddis of performance seen Mar 2, 2016:

Top drawer, but has it lost its edge?
We see less of French playwright Jean Anouilh these days though in the 1950s and early ‘60s, he was quite the darling, taken up by no less than Peter Brook, Paul Scofield, and Laurence Olivier.

Welcome Home, Captain Fox, for all its top drawer cast and updating from France to the US in 1959 – Long Island and The Hamptons to be precise – probably explains why he’s less palatable to today’s tastes.

Le Voyageur Sans Bagage from which Anthony Weigh has taken this new version was his first major success. As directed here by Blanche McIntyre with Sian Thomas, crisply scary as an upper-crust matriarch, it veers between farce and psychological mystery with a self-consciousness that makes working out exactly what Anouilh/Weigh/McIntyre are aiming for a strenuous process.
Is it social satire, a sardonic Pirandellian investigation into identity (do we only exist in other people’s perception of us?); or even – and very apt considering the interest once again in the 1950s and McCarthyism – a comment on post-war American paranoia.

It may be all of these things and none of them. There are enough red herrings to lead us up several garden paths, but then again, as things fall out, a predictability in its comedy that makes the journey ultimately stiff and unsatisfying.

A soldier returns home after a 15-year absence and incarceration by East European communists. Suffering from amnesia, he has been `rescued’ by one Marcee Dupont-Dufort (a deliciously over-ripe performance from Katharine Kingsley in floral fifties frock), a social-climbing housewife heavily into dog rescues.

Quite how dog rescue teams up with personal identity and family fall-outs becomes the play’s dark gravitational centre – its pulling force uncertainty as to Captain Fox (or Gene’s) true identity.

But much ensues besides – illicit affairs, race relations – as the past comes crashing up against the Long Island family’s attempt to claim `Gene’ for their own before Gene finally achieves control of his own destiny.

In this confusing pot pourri, the one clear harbour of intention is Danny Webb, a richly comic turn as Marcee’s hen-pecked husband, played with a Groucho Marx glee and waspishness. Worth the ticket alone!

Welcome Home, Captain Fox!
By Jean Anouilh in a new version by Anthony Weigh

Gene: Rory Keenan
Man in A White Coat/Uncle Job: Daniel York
Mrs Marcee Dupont-Dufort: Katherine Kingsley
Mr De Wit Dupont-Dufort: Danny Webb
James: Trevor Laird
Mrs Fox: Sian Thomas
George Fox: Barnaby Kay
Juliette: Michelle Asante
Valerie Fox: Fenella Woolgar

Small Boy: Kit Connor, Ilan Galkoff, Rory Stroud

Director: Blanche McIntyre
Designer: Mark Thompson
Lighting Designer: Hugh Vanstone
Sound Designer: Gregory Clarke
Casting: Alastair Coomber CDG
Dialect Coach: Charmian Hoare
Fight Director: Kevin McCurdy
Resident Assistant Director: Jack Sain
Children’s Casting: Vicky Richardson

First perf of this production of Welcome Home, Captain Fox! at the Donmar Warehouse Theatre, London, Feb 18, 2016.

2016-03-04 16:42:07

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