Veteran critics – and I suppose that’s what I am now – get to have relationships with theatres. I’ve had my ups and downs, for sure, with the Donmar. I was lucky that I got started as a reviewer as the decade Michael Grandage was in charge of this venue in Covent Garden was beginning. I got used to seeing shows such as Frost/Nixon that became West End and Broadway triumphs and stars such as Jude Law, Judi Dench and Eddie Redmayne, and started to take it for granted.
Since Grandage’s departure, the venue has very obviously been struggling to find a role in life and I’m not sure it’s ever found it.
Cordelia Lynn’s Love and Other Acts of Violence is the show its current chief Michael Longhurst has chosen to reopen the venue with after a £3.4 million refurbishment. The place looks great.
I only wish I could say the same about the play, directed by Elayce Ismail. It features a warring couple played by Tom Mothersdale and Abigail Weinstock in the first act, then, in the second act, the action shifts to Poland in 1918, where Richard Katz plays an elderly Jewish father trying to keep his family safe.
I saw it with a highly intelligent lawyer and I asked her at the end if she understood a word of it.
She replied that she was going to ask me precisely the same thing. I am sorry to say this, but it’s boring, pointless rubbish.