Blancheblanche marvin's london theatreviews

recommended by Peter Brook
**** = stand if necessary
*** = sit in front stalls
** = sit in back stalls
* = have a drink!
novel KAZUO ISHIGURO music/book/lyrics ALEX LOVELESS director CHRIS LOVELESS dance OMAR F. OKAI m.d./dance-vocal arrangements RICHARD BATES décor/costumes DAVID SHIELDS lights CHRIS LINCE costumes CHRISTINA POMEROY sound MATT HALL with STEPHEN RASHBROOK stevens, LUCY BRADSHAW miss kenton, DUDLEY ROGERS stevens senior/ man on pier, REUBEN KAYE mr lewis /farraday, LEEJAY TOWNSEND dupont, ALAN VICARY lord darlington, CHRISTOPHER BARTLETT reginald, ADRIAN BEAUMONT sir david, PAUL TATE doctor/mr spencer, HANNAH BINGHAM florence/ ensemble, SOPHIE JUGE mrs taylor/ensemble, GEMMA SALTER sarah/ensemble, KATIA SARTINI ruth/ensemble, REBECCA WHITBREAD dorothy/ensemble
It may be a tiny theatre but it has a giant production in this programme. It is a play with music taken from the subtle and sensitive book that was made into the most heart rendering film starring Emma Thompson and Anthony Hopkins. Does such a delicate story sustain the transition…absolutely. The set is amazingly captivating using the space to recreate rooms in the stately home of Darlington Hall that are not just a box set. The cast are all hand picked in both their acting singing and dancing. The adaptation flows sustaining the mood of the times with music that is melodic in its songs yet lively enough for the dancing and jolly enough in the music hall rendition of The End of the Pier. It is all woven together in fluid strokes. The staging is inventive, abounding with whispering servants and the lovers that never come to be… Stephen Rashbrook as Stevens, Lucy Bradshaw as Miss Kenton…could not be bettered in the West End. It is a gem…a jewel… that shines its light and lingers on. The story centres on Lord Darlington, a Nazi sympathizer who held his political meetings at Darlington Hall. The English formality and reserve as epitomised by the butler Stevens freezes him from shedding tears upon his father’s death or opening his heart to the housekeeper Mrs Kenton. His deep sense of loyalty, putting service before his personal feelings, being more a part of Darlington Hall than part of a marriage leads him into a loneliness never counted upon as the times change. Lord Darlington is forced to sell the estate and Mr Farraday, an American without English tradition, takes over leaving Stevens serving in a world he no longer knows. And yet he cannot commit himself to Mrs Kenton when the door is opened to him. It is a quiet tragedy of two misplaced lovers surrounded by the vitality of the young servants who effervesce with life. The soul of Stevens is touched by life but never lived. Hats off to this accomplished company and to the Union Theatre…Import, import and export to the West End, Lincoln Center, BAM, Kennedy Center, etc.
September 1-25/10