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The Breadhorse (Bristol)

The American Plan (Bath)

By • Southwest
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Richard Greenberg’s play is set in 1950s upstate-New York, and takes a Chekovian look on the wealthy classes’ angst-filled leisure time. Think “summer of change/discovery/crisis” and you’re most-way there. An over-indulged, fatherless girl meets a society hunk and assumes he’s simpler than her oh-so-complex self. While she and her mother think they’re manipulating him to play a permanent role in their joyless futures, there’s inevitably more to it.

David Grindley directs a supple production that never flags, with a hugely able and confident ensemble cast. Diana Quick’s Eva grows painfully more human, while Dona Croll’s superb maid-cum-companion Olivia leaves you wondering for hours after. Emily Taafe as damaged flibbertigibbet Lili brings more depth than the script seems to promise, although ultimately, Lili - like the others - can never be likeable.

Likewise, Luke Allen-Gale’s near-flawless Nick (the aforementioned hunk) is finely played - and his too short scenes with nicely-drawn former lover Gil (Mark Edel-Hunt) are in many ways the highlight of - and gateway to - the play.

This is a beautiful and accomplished production of a play that’s more talk than action, but for precious moments shines a laser-light on the idiocies and vanities that we let rule our lives.


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