Play of the Week: The River, Royal Court, London SW1
Saturday 03 November 2012
It's hard to see what Jez Butterworth could have done to equal the impact of Jerusalem, so it's perhaps no surprise to find him working at the opposite end of the scale in his follow-up.
Lyrical and tricksy, droll and desolating, this spellbinding three-hander unfolds like a tense cross between deeply felt poetry and sleight-of-hand puzzle. It's unveiled in Ian Rickson's exquisitely modulated production in the Royal Court's 85-seat studio space.
It begins on a moonless night, when Dominic West's Man brings his girlfriend (a combative but vulnerable Miranda Raison) to the family cabin where he has gone for the fly-fishing since he was a boy. It emerges that he has a compulsion to give women the illusion of specialness.
By a device of alternation, the play becomes haunted by echoes of previous "once-in-a-lifetime" visits. West turns in a marvellously enigmatic performance in a hypnotic play that nags at the mind long afterwards.
020 7565 5000; royalcourttheatre.com; to 17 November
Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigourfilm
Bannatyne leaves Dragon's DenTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 2 Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
- 3 Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014: In defence of Mesut Ozil - the Arsenal midfielder works magic in the shadows
- 4 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 5 Tony Abbott embarrasses Australia by praising Japanese WWII military, ‘getting on the sake’ and posing for ‘crotch-shot’ photo opportunity
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
Vanessa Feltz criticises 'vile' reaction to Rolf Harris allegations