The last time the NT staged a Peter Handke production was twenty years ago when The Long Way Round achieved much critical success. Nearly twenty years later, this unusual play, directed by James Macdonald, features business people, roller-bladers, a cowboy, several street-sweepers, a half dressed bride, a film crew, a line of old men, a tourist, a beauty in a mirrored dress, Abraham and Isaac, a family of refugees and Papageno amoung other characters.
The production features designs by Hildegard Bechtler, costumes by Moritz Junge and lighting from Jean Kalman. Among the large cast Susannah Fielding and Daniel Hawksford travel to the Lyttleton from the NT’s Olivier Theatre and where they are still currently appearing as Hero and Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing.
Critics found it difficult to find a point to this wordless play which made for “an entrancing evening” that was strangely full of “puckish pointlessness”. While it was generally agreed that the play was “a mesmerising, captivating delight”, it was also noted that there was “no real shape or beauty to the show”. Some critics felt that the experience left little impression and would have been “far more interesting if it was less afraid of being boring”, while others delighted in an “unusual, often striking, sometimes funny piece”.
- by Kate Jackson