Our Private Life, Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, London
Wednesday 02 March 2011
One of the hottest tickets in Theatreland at the moment is The Children's Hour with Keira Knightley, but Our Private Life, by Colombian author Pedro Miguel Rozo, knocks spots off Lillian Hellman's 1934 analysis of the destructive effects of false rumour. It has the wonderfully frisky, darkly droll elan of an early Almodóvar movie and shows how scandal can flush out discomfiting underlying truths.
The play has all the hallmarks of the Royal Court's excellent International Department. With both Simon Scardifield's wittily knowing translation and Lyndsey Turner's immaculately acted production, you feel that you are being taken out into valuably unfamiliar cultural territory and, at the same time, invited deeper into your own unacknowledged experience.
The play homes in on village life in a Colombia uneasily balanced between its terrorist past and a future of garish new shopping centres. Anthony O'Donnell's seedily subdued Father finds himself accused of fiddling with the neglected male child of a female farm-hand. For his compulsive-fantasist gay son (brilliant Colin Morgan), this constitutes proof that there must have been abuse in his own childhood. Cashing in on the lucrative "doubt" that is flooding Colombia as it "leaves the dark of the parochial church behind" is Adrian Schiller's dodgy shrink who promotes paranoia because he has his sights set on a Grand Cherokee jeep.
Ishia Bennison is hilarious as the mother who struggles to paper over the family crevasses with bright prattle. The cast excel at conveying private asides that are somehow porous to the other characters. The final scene, in which we learn the devastating way in which there is a degree of truth in these lies, is one of the most breathtaking sequences on the current London stage.
To 12 March (020 7565 5000)
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Game of Thrones: Grey Worm actor Jacob Anderson is all for more male nudity – as long as he can keep his clothes on
Martin Scorsese 'in shock' after death on set of new film Silence
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
The secret joke hidden in Silence of the Lambs' most famous line
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures