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PERFORMANCE NOTES: The Play National Anthems Old Vic To 23 April

National Anthems, a three-hander set in a Detroit suburb in 1988, was largely ignored in the lifetime of its playwright, Dennis McIntyre. The third act of Kevin Spacey's Old Vic tenure is the first to star the artistic director himself, as a fireman who calls unexpectedly on his neighbours, played by Steven Weber and Mary Stuart Masterson.

"More effective as a slick and sometimes contrived showcase for Spacey's acting talents than as the savage satire on late-Eighties materialism in America than it's cracked up to be. [It] never attains the symbolic dimensions aimed for in the title. And up is still the only direction in which Spacey's weird regime can move." Paul Taylor

"[Spacey]'s is a highly skilful performance... With Weber exuding aggro, and Masterson doing all she can with an unrewarding role, the acting isn't the problem. It's the choice of play." The Times

"While Spacey is mesmerising, McIntyre's play offers a glibly mechanical metaphor for American life." The Guardian

"Dennis McIntyre's National Anthems ... mounts a flaccid, sentimental assault upon materialism." Evening Standard

"[Spacey] is unable to grab our attention sufficiently or distinguish between his flights of fancy. The final twist is touching and unpredictable, but ... it is hard for us to feel for [the characters]." Daily Express