Fathers and Sons, Donmar Warehouse, review: Seth Numrich returns to London stage
Wednesday 11 June 2014
Having excelled as a Tennessee Williams flaky golden-boy-turned gigolo in Sweet Bird of Youth last year, American actor Seth Numrich returns to the London stage now as the brilliant student nihilist, Bazarov, the portent of revolutionary change in Turgenev's great 1862 novel of generational conflict.
Lyndsey Turner directs this beautifully orchestrated revival of the Brian Friel adaptation (first seen in 1987) which skilfully refocuses the material – certain key episodes are reported not shown; there's an extended, elegiac epilogue – in a way that serves to make the play a true ensemble piece about Bazarov's impact on all these lives he condemns for their ineffectual, self-deluded liberalism.
Though he could afford to be more abrasive, Numrich splendidly captures the charisma and the smug more-radical-than-thou manner of this figure who repudiates the entire system and his gabbling confusion when his certainties are briefly toppled by a romantic passion for the rich, sophisticated and tightly controlled widow, Anna (excellent Elaine Cassidy).
You never doubt, though, that his beliefs are painfully sincere. Tim McMullan is exquisitely funny and ineffably sad as Pavel, the snooty old dandy who takes a bitter dislike to Bazarov but turns out to have melancholy reserves of honour and understanding. And Karl Johnson and Lindy Whiteford break your heart as his adoring, semi-comprehending low born parents.
Watching the production is like listening to a richly interwoven chamber symphony.
To 26 July; 0844 871 7624
Broadcaster unveils Christmas scheduleTV
Review: Posh journalists just can't get enough of each otherTV
Jeff Fletcher found fame in 1990s
'At times I thought he was me'film
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Halle Berry takes ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry to court for allegedly trying to make daughter look less African-American
- 4 Isis propaganda image showing 'abuse of Muslim woman by soldiers' is actually taken from Hungarian porn film
- 5 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Black Mirror Christmas special: Jon Hamm episode will see people 'blocked' in real life
True Detective series 2: Rachel McAdams cast in female lead as 'no-nonsense' detective
Zoella: YouTube sensation Zoe Sugg's debut novel expected to become overnight bestseller
Naked free runner captured in breathtaking photographs above London's streets
Posh People: Inside Tatler, BBC2 - TV review: Fundamentally not just about posh people
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services