French playwrighting phenomenon Florian Zeller’s frightening tale of teen depression, THE SON made its UK debut at London’s Kiln Theatre in February with a sold-out run before transferring to the Duke of York’s in the West End for a ten-week season. Directed by Michael Longhurst and translated by Christopher Hampton this “immaculate production” (The Guardian’s Michael Billington) completes the French writer’s trilogy of plays; THE FATHER, focused on aged dementia and THE MOTHER on middle-aged psychosis.
THE SON is “the most powerful of all,” according to Ann Treneman in her five-star review in The Times, “superbly acted with a rhythm that keeps you on the edge of your seat.”
After skipping school and self-harming, 17 year-old Nicolas (Laurie Kynaston) moves out of his mother (Amanda Abbington) Anne’s house to live with his father Pierre (John Light) and Pierre’s lover Sofia (Amaka Okafor) and their new baby. In his Evening Standard review, Nick Curtis called the play an “unnerving and beautifully sensitive drama… a lacerating examination of the effect of a son’s mental illness has on his divorced parents.”
The four cast members signed my drawing at the theatre a few weeks ago as they arrived for a Saturday matinee.
British actor John Light has been nominated for a Supporting Actor Olivier Award for his role as a Gestapo officer. Jonathan Church’s world premiere production of Taken at Midnight, the new play by documentary film maker Mark Hayhurst, was first staged as part of the Chichester Festival Theatre’s Hidden Histories Season.
It’s the extraordinary story of a young Jewish lawyer Hans Litten who subpoenaed Hitler to appear as a witness in a criminal trial in 1931. he was taken into “protective custody” and sent to Sonnenburg Concentration Camp. The play focusses on the attempts of Litten’s mother (Penelope Wilton) to confront the Gestapo and rescue her son from his inevitable fate.
After it’s success in Chichester, the production transferred to the Theatre Royal, Haymarket in London’s West End for a limited run which ended last weekend.
The New York Times correspondent Matt Wolf said “Mr Light is suavely chilling in the part” of Dr Conrad, the Nazi official who plays down the severity of Litten’s fate even though he knows the atrocities that await. Hans Litten died in Dachau in 1938, at the age of 34.