Eighteen months ago very few theatre-goers in London had heard of Florian Zeller. Now the Parisian playwright is “the go-to man if you are looking for 90 minutes of elegant perceptive drama that plays games with the slippery nature of theatrical reality,” according to WhatsOnStage critic Sarah Crompton.
His latest offering, THE TRUTH completes a dazzling hat-trick that includes THE FATHER and its companion piece THE MOTHER, both of which have graced the London stage to critical acclaim recently. THE TRUTH, directed by Lindsay Posner, opened at the Menier Chocolate Factory earlier this year and has transferred to the West End’s Wyndham’s Theatre. In her five-star review for the Guardian, Kate Kellaway described it as “a devious must-see.”
Like his previous English successes, LA VERITE, which was written in 2011, has been translated by Christopher Hampton. It’s a confounding and unsettling tale of infidelity and the lying game as Michel (Alexander Hanson) attempts to keep his wife (Tanya Franks), his mistress (Frances O’Connor) and his best friend (Robert Portal) in the dark about his intentions. Sarah Crompton wrote, “It’s a plot as slim as a Parisian woman, and just as sophisticated, with a faint whiff of 1950’s wreathing its etiolated gestures.”
Both Frances and Alexander signed my drawing at the stage door after last Saturday’s matinee.
Written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Christopher Hampton and Don Black, and directed by Richard Eyre, Stephen Ward centres on the title character’s involvement with the young showgirl Christine Keeler that lead to one of the biggest scandals and most famous trials of the 20th century.
On the 50th anniversary, it deals with Ward as the ‘victim’ who was set up as a scapegoat when the scandal put the skids under Macmillan’s government in 1963. The Telegraph’s critic Charles Spencer suggests, “A show that may well play a part in the current campaign to quash the society osteopath’s trumped up conviction for living on immoral earnings.”
Alexander Hanson plays the charming and suave well connected bachelor Stephen Ward. Charlotte Spencer is the glamorous Keeler, and Charlotte Blackledge is her bubbly friend Mandy Rice-Davies.
The London wind and rain kindly subsided to allow the three leads to sign my sketch at the uncovered Aldwych stage door after last night’s performance.