Before the Party (Almeida Theatre) *Five Stars*

Image

Matthew Dunster’s revival of Rodney Ackland’s play, originally performed in 1949 and based on a short story by W. Somerset Maugham, is a marvel. It describes the mechanics within a conservative upper class family once one of its members reveals a dark secret. Superbly cast with Katherine Parkinson as the “prodigal daughter” Laura Skinner pitted against her forbidding sister Kathleen played by Michelle Terry, her utterly hypocritical politician of father (Michael Thomas) and her naive mother (Stella Gonet). Special mention should also go to Polly Dartford as the youngest daughter Susan (alternating  the role with two other actors) whose inquisitive questions of a child reveal the double-standards of the adults and Anna Fleischles great costume designs. The play manages to walk the fine line between satirical criticism and psychological insight, between humour and torment. It reminded me of recent revivals of plays by Terence Rattigan (“After the Dance”,  “Cause Célébre) but “Before the Party” is much funnier. And darker. A must-see.

In the Almeida Theatre until  11 May 2013                                   http://www.almeida.co.uk/

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under theatre

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s