The President of an Empty Room
From: Friday, 17th June 2005
To: Saturday, 27 August 2005
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Amid the vibrant, spirited community of a Cuban cigar factory, the senior roller proclaims a democracy and work goes to hell. There s Flamenco dancing, bursts of opera, quarrels, reconciliations, revelations and a bungled sexual encounter; but Miguel has lost his sweetheart to America, there s a storm in Havana, and tobacco is the last thing on his mind.
29 June 2005
An immediate sense of déjà vu attends President of an Empty Room even before the play begins as you take your seats amongst the clutter of the traverse stage that designer Bunny Christie has turned into a gritty evocation of a small Cuban cigar-making factory.
In December 2004, Hampstead Theatre produced the Pulitzer-prize winning Broadway play Anna in the Tropics that also revolved around the workers of a cigar-making factory; but if that play was compromised by an inauthentic production that felt about as Latin as Mayfair, this time around the play has the right atmospheric shading but insufficient dramatic momentum.
Debutant playwright Steven Knight (who is best known for creating the TV show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and whose film writing credits include the script for Dirty Pretty Things) pays homage in a programme note to “the cigars that inspired me to write it”.
At a time when legislation...
Latest User Review
22.214.171.124) - 11 August 2005:
I'm afraid the play just wasn't worth mounting. Why didn't the RNT pull the plug when they read it? So much talent wasted - another magnificent Bunny Christie set, the return of the wonderful Jim Carter to the stage, great music.....there have been too many disappointments at the RNT of late, mostly in choice of plays; and after such a great start to Nicholas Hytner's regime, too....