This solid production of John Osborne’s classic Look Back in Anger is an appropriate piece of theatre to be present at the Fringe. Many theatrical scholars suggest that Osborne changed British theatre forever with this play, and it certainly still carries much of the same power that it did in 1956.
The cast here are incredibly professional, giving slick and strong performances throughout. They are all utterly convincing, with particular praise going to Alastair Norgate in his manic and terrifying characterisation of Jimmy Porter. Norgate is a powerhouse; injecting so much energy into the piece and getting the tone and progression of the character spot on. This production shows the original kitchen sink drama remains biting, cutting and painful.
The design and direction is superb. The small studio feels almost like a site-specific space with the attention to detail of peeling wallpaper and atmospheric lighting heightening the power of Osborne's strong naturalistic drama.
The main problem here is the length of the piece; it’s been advertised as only 65 minutes, when it actually runs at over an hour and a half. Look Back in Anger is usually done with an interval for good reason. In order to meet the more Fringe-friendly schedules, the creatives here have crammed both acts together. It's too long and too intense for the cramped audience at soco and both the actors and the audience are emotionally exhausted and twitchy by the end, which robs the denouement of much of its power.