First published in The Times, Saturday April 21 2018
“Enough is not as good as a feast!” cries Edmund Tyrone (Lorn Macdonald), tossing back the latest in a long line of whisky shots. In an age of rapid-fire 90-minute plays with no interval, a revival of Eugene O’Neill’s masterpiece at the Citizens certainly feels like a good old-fashioned theatrical banquet, albeit a well-oiled one.
First published in The Times, Friday March 17 2017
Dominic Hill, the artistic director of the Citizens Theatre, has won acclaim and awards in recent years for productions of Crime and Punishment and Hamlet presented on near-bare stages, with only a few essential props and the cast doubling as musicians. While his production of Hay Fever is not as skeletal as his previous shows, the staging here is more restrained than the usual lavish naturalism you get in productions of Coward.
Tom Piper’s set design provides just enough detail to convey the comfortably moth-eaten atmosphere of the Bliss residence. That the wings are in sight of the audience feels wholly appropriate to a play about a family who enact the mother of all pantomimes for the benefit of their houseguests, one of whom decries their antics as “artificial to the point of lunacy”.
First published in The Times, Monday February 8 2015
The experience of seeing actors famed for television roles taking to the stage can be disorientating, requiring an adjustment on the part of the audience, a further suspension of disbelief. In Dominic Hill’s revival of Endgame at the Citizens, the curiosity value of seeing David Neilson and Chris Gascoyne – for many years Roy Cropper and Peter Barlow in Coronation Street – transferred to the strange landscape of a Samuel Beckett play is swiftly defused by the fact that both actors are almost unrecognisable from the outset.