No Man’s Land- A Review

I love writing for this little blog of ours. It has opened some fabulous doors and forced us to really find some cheaper ways to have fun in Brighton.

This review, however has been my highlight so far and, as a lover of theatre, this was my Elysium. Sophie and I had the pleasure, nay the honour, of attending the Theatre Royal, Brighton to see Harold Pinter’s iconic No Man’s Land.

“But Nick you handsome devil,I hear you cry. “Any GCSE or A-Level student sees and reads Pinter all the time.” Well the twist and real excitement for this production, directed by Tony Award winning Sean Mathias, starred two heavyweights of the British stage:

Sir Ian Mckellen (Gods and Monsters, the X-Men franchise and more recently Mr Holmes.)

Sir Patrick Stewart (Dune, The Star Trek franchise and more recently Green Room)

We attended on opening night and I have literally nothing bad to say about the play. The only disappointment was that it was so damn hot in the theatre, but with Mckellen and Stewart donning the stage, you’re immediately whisked away to another (albeit sweaty) world.

For those who haven’t seen or read the play, it follows a chance meeting between two old writers Hirst (Stewart) and Spooner (Mckellen). When Hirst brings Spooner back to his stately home from a famous Hampstead pub the pair get more and more drunk offering up more and more absurd stories.

The seemingly harmless, occasionally rude and highly humorous interaction between Hirst and Spooner then takes a dark turn. As Pinter’s classic love of power plays are thrown into the mix we see all is not what it seems. Enter then two sinister characters with their own agenda played by Damien Molony (Being Human) and Owen Teale (Game of Thrones).

It is a play fraught with absurdist tales, dark comedy and literary references; most notably The Ninny’s favourite poem by T.S. Eliot, The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock.

The acting was pristine from all the cast, with Molony and Teale holding their own very well against the sublime leads. All involved delved deep into the complex psyche of these confusing characters delivering great monologues with flair, projection and energy that would’ve made Pinter proud.

It was almost too good, if you can have such a thing, and brought up some heavy hitting themes amongst the humour: life vs death, age vs youth, uncertain reality and real uncertainty.

The synergy of the entire production was clear- from Mathia’s direction, to the set, to the actors, all the way up to a highly appreciative audience. You could damn near feel the place quake as Stewart delivered the iconic line: “There are places in my heart…where no living soul…has…or can ever…trespass.”

Unfortunately the plays run in Brighton has come to an end, and I have it on good authority the tickets sold out almost immediately. But you can still grab your ticket to see it at London Wyndham’s Theatre.

Put simply…find any way you can to see this performance, you will not regret it.

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