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You are in: Northamptonshire » Going Out » On Stage

Wednesday, 26th March, 2003
Review: Amy's View
Image of Dominic and Amy in Amy's View
Dominic (Douglas Rao) and Amy (Poppy Miller)

Is theatre out-of-date and irrelevant? That's the big argument in David Hare's play showing now at Northampton's Royal Theatre.

This review is by Martin Borley.

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Amy's View by David Hare
The Royal Theatre, Northampton
Thursday 20th March to Saturday 5th April, 2003
Tickets: £4.00 to £26.00
Box Office: 01604 624811
Reviewer's Rating:
3 stars

This is the story of a family and their relationships with each other. Esme (Gillian Hanna) is a flamboyant but ageing stage actress. She receives a rare visit from her daughter Amy (Poppy Miller), who has a big favour to ask. Amy is accompanied by her new boyfriend, the pretentious Dominic (Douglas Rao). From the start it's clear that Esme doesn't have much time for the naïve Dominic.

Esme's life is the theatre but for Dominic theatre is a fossil with no relevance to young people. For him, television and film is what matters. This is the first of many arguments about the relative strengths of the different media. It's similar to the 'dumbing-down' arguments we hear about television today.

Mouthing views

Image of Gillian Hanna as Esme
Gillian Hanna as Esme.

At times, you get the feeling that David Hare's characters are just mouthing his views. But the play is about more than dinner party arguments. It's about universal themes such as love, betrayal, loss, fiction and reality.

It's an epic play (it covers 16 years, starting in 1979) and is fairly long at two hours. But my interest was maintained by the intertwining relationships between the family members.

Arty farty

All the cast are excellent. In addition to those already mentioned, Tessa Worsley is funny and poignant as Esme's mother-in-law, Evelyn. And Robert Whelan is very believable as Frank, the finance manager from next door who befriends Esme.

In Amy's View, Dominic attacks theatre for being 'arty-farty' and elitist but David Hare seeks to show that theatre is much more to do with real life and the things that really matter. It's a shame that some people came out of the theatre after watching the play agreeing more with Dominic than the playwright.

Pictures: Robert Workman

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