Must See: Chariots of Fire, Hampstead theatre, London NW3

A gold-standard adaptation that has the legs to run and run.

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

I am ashamed to admit that when Edward Hall's production was first announced, my thoughts were not kind. Giving a theatrical makeover to an iconic film about two men preparing for the Paris Olympics of 1924 struck me as just about the most crashingly obvious way to cash in on Olympics fever.

But in the event there is something most pleasingly counter-intuitive about a project that aims to convert a story we associate with the image of men running through surf to that Vangelis theme tune into indoor entertainment.

Miriam Buether has pulled off a bold design coup, and you hope she can do the same when the play transfers to the West End: running tracks go through and behind the audience and Hall's cast of super-fit young men whip close past you.

James McArdle is very striking as the fiercely ambitious Harold Abrahams, while Jack Lowden makes the muscular Christianity of devout Scots Sabbatarian, Eric Liddell, genuinely moving.

(0207 722 9301; hampsteadtheatre.com) to 16 Jun

Comments