Spacey Postpones Complicit World Premiere, 28 Jan
Date: 15 January 2009
The Old Vic has postponed the world premiere of Joe Sutton’s new political drama Complicit, artistic director Kevin Spacey’s first directing credit at the theatre since he launched his reign there with Cloaca in September 2004 (See News, 3 Nov 2008).
The premiere production - which stars Spacey’s Oscar-winning Hollywood peer Richard Dreyfuss, returning to the West End stage five years after being axed from the UK premiere of The Producers just days before opening night (See News, 19 Oct 2004) – was due to open on 19 January 2009 (previews from 7 January). It will now open nine days later, on 28 January. It finishes its limited season on 21 February.
An Old Vic spokeswoman told Whatsonstage.com: “It’s a world premiere and we wanted to give this new work a bit more development time.” The 28th was the first later midweek date available in a hectic London press night diary. She added that audiences during the show’s previews have been “very enthusiastic” and the production is selling well.
In the three-hander, Dreyfuss is Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ben Kritzer, who finds himself hauled in front of a Supreme Court Special Prosecutor where he faces the dilemma of defending his belief in the freedom of the press or protecting his family.
Dreyfuss is joined in the cast by David Suchet and Elizabeth McGovern. Complicit retains the Old Vic’s in-the-round configuration created last autumn for The Norman Conquests. It’s designed by Rob Howell, Whatsonstage.com Award-nominated for The Norman Conquests (and last year’s winner for The Lord of the Rings, with lighting by Howard Harrison, video by Jon Driscoll and sound by Simon Baker for Autograph.
- by Terri Paddock
|I was at the fourth preview and Spacey as on stage apologising for the state of things on that night as well. Frankly, I thought the play was a mess, with Dreyfuss seeming completely unprepared and requiring line prompts on three or four occasions. It's a stodgy, static and uninteresting piece of work, and the second act rambles on forever without ever generating a real sense of drama or building to a point. David Suchet is the one saving grace - I thought he was superb - but every other aspect of the play needs a complete overhaul before the premiere. - Phil||17 Jan 09|
|I was at the very first preview. Spacey, of whom I am a big fan, introduced the production, almost apologising for the lack of preparation, asking us to "stay with it". First at foremost, the artistic director of a leading producing theatre should never be in a position when he must apologise to his audience; that was the first sign that the actors weren't trusted to pull the thing off.
I think that most people in the audience were shocked by the embarrassing performance of Richard Dreyfuss (not knowing lines aside - the man's ability to convey limited emotion was totally lacking). I do believe that this play needed to be written, but by somebody else, with a different director. It was truly dire, with perhaps the most pedestrian dialogue I have ever heard. My friend lent over to me during one of Dreyfuss's monologues and whispered, "for a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, he's not got much of a way with words". The vocabulary of the play is highly limited, which is unexpected from such a prolific writer.
I don't see how this play can be saved. - Thomasinthepark||17 Jan 09|
|I honestly don't thing there's anything that can save this production. The glaring lack of preparation on the part of Richard Dreyfuss aside (especially when contrasted with David Suchet's masterful presence), it is simply not an interesting play.
All of the action takes place either in the past or off stage, and the characters seem disinclined to fully let the audience in on what's been going on. It's infused with an overly dramatic, urgent vagueness, like a late night call from a breathless friend who refuses to say what's wrong.
- Heidi||17 Jan 09|
|On Monday's preview, Dreyfuss was having his lines fed to him clumsily through an ear piece. I don't think that's what theatregoers expect from the old vic even before pressnight. bad show. - CH||17 Jan 09|
|Spacey directed Cloaca just after he started at the Old Vic. Having caught an early preview of Complicit, I'm afraid the reasons for this delay are brutally obvious. It's a really terrible play. From the state I saw it in, unless it gets a total rewrite before it opens, it's going to be a fairly historic critical turkey. - TTC||16 Jan 09|
|Didn't Spacey also direct the first play he put on at the Old Vic. - Feather||15 Jan 09|
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