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
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.
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.
Hanna as Esme.
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.
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.
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.
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.