Monday, 29 September 2014

Review: The Vertical Hour at the Park Theatre

The Vertical Hour
Park Theatre (Park200)
Reviewed on Thursday 25th September 2014

The Vertical Hour is a fascinating play by David Hare which remains incredibly relevant. The secret to the play's success is that it is delves into the debate surrounding Iraq as well as family and relationship issues. It is politically charged but also human.

Former war reporter turned Professor, Nadia Blye (played by Thusitha Jayasundera), doesn't think anyone will be able to make her question her strong opinions surrounding the Iraq war... but all that is set to change when she meets her boyfriend's father (Oliver, played by Peter Davison) for the first time. 

The opening of The Vertical Hour is incredibly political, it's interesting but I feared it was setting the tone for the next two hours and thirty-five minutes. Luckily the piece progresses and, as the first act reaches its conclusion, Hare allows you to warm to the characters and sit back and relax. 

Nadia is such a brilliant character as she seems so confident in her own skin and at ease with her opinions. However, she truly meets her match in the form of Oliver. Jayasundera and Davison both give intellectual performances; they have a connection which makes the piece incredibly exciting.

The second act loses its steam and doesn't live up to the first. However, I absolutely loved moments of The Vertical Hour. It's nice to see a piece of theatre which, instead of trying too hard to make a point, explores an issue and sparks debate. Charlie Damigos' beautifully atmospheric design has transformed the Park200. 

I could feel a few press night nerves in the air which led to some inconsistent performances (there were a few slipping accents) which is frustrating as I imagine in a week's time (perhaps already) Nigel Douglas' production will be settled, alive and kicking. I highly recommend seeing it.

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

The Vertical Hour runs at the Park Theatre (Park200) until Sunday 26th October 2014.
Visit for information and tickets.

Photo Credit: TEA Films 

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