Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Vertical Hour, Music Box Theatre, New York

You can't divorce plays from their context, and the context of this new play by David Hare is that I've been sent to New York by work! Wicked!

In many ways it's a typical David Hare play, but this time it's in New York. Where I am. I was moved by how hungry the Broadway audience (that's Broadway, New York, geography fans!) was for meaty serious British drama about Big Issues. Big Issues are great, aren't they - they help the homeless, and they're a great read on Tube. Or in my case, the Subway(that's what they call it in New York).

As I was saying, the Americans are clearly thirsting for serious British Theatre like this production which is being produced in America and not in Britain. Subtract the Brits and Broadway(NY) drama is negligible. But Hare's new play also deals with Iraq. Although there are aspects of The Vertical Hour I find unpersuasive, what finally matters is the play's total gesture, which is that the Iraq War was totally wrong even if some Americans disagree.

What do we mean by patriotism? Is it just politics? Or does it more truly reside in a love of poets? And landscape? And wine? And quail?

The acting is good.

Juliane Moore has an extraordinary physical quality in that her flame-red hair is offset by a skin of almost translucent whiteness. Which is great acting!

And Bill Nighy looks like a man who has suffered interestingly, perhaps of an illness, or maybe he has been subjected to some kind of unexpected mental torment - the loss of a loved one? - or perhaps he has a sore foot and it hurts everytime he puts pressure on it. Anyhow, that's what he looks like. Which is great acting!

Sam Mendes' production is good and is in New York where I saw it.

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