Nagy, an expatriate American living in London, has the best sense of drama-as-music of any playwright of her generation. This gifted and uneven work is at its best when it cuts loose from the sort of situation tragi-comedy letter-writers could handle and aspires to the condition of rapturous oratorio.
Watching Never Land, I kept thinking what a superb librettist Nagy would have made for the Leonard Bernstein of A Quiet Place, and, though Steven Pimlott's production is very fine (except for one gruesomely synthetic performance), the dream-teaming for me would be Nagy and the more abstract mis-en-scene (if you'll pardon my French) of Robert Wilson.
Never Land reflects, with wit and passion, on a kind of suspended animation of the soul, a feeling of deep unworthiness that continually postpones the vision you so yearn for. A Lottery win, a one-way Eurostar trip and a little place in Chiswick would not solve this family's problems.
As the wife, Sheila Gish gives further stunning proof that she is a great actress, seamlessly portraying this woman's various levels of reality: the naughty fag-cadging co-conspirator with Michelle Fairley's beautifully- weird daughter, both cellmates in the prison of the father's ambitions; the acid louche-lush "graciousness" with the cartoonily English guests her husband foists on them; and, best of all, the sensitive, fundamentally devoted wife who has gone along with her husband's fantasies out of lifelong gratitude for a klutzilly-expressed act of kindness when they first met. It would make the father wince to have it phrased thus: but in Never Land, family life comes across, powerfully, as both a loving and lethal theatre de complicite.Reuse content