The new Yasmina Reza play reunites the French playwright with the full team behind her previous long-running West End comedy Art - translator Christopher Hampton, director Matthew Warchus and producers David Pugh and Daffyd Rogers (as well as designer Mark Thompson, lighting designer Hugh Vanstone and composer Gary Yershon). And, in this English-language premiere, it boasts a quartet of stellar actors – Ralph Fiennes, Tamsin Greig, Ken Stott and Janet McTeer - as two warring sets of parents who meet to discuss a playground altercation between their 11-year-old sons.
An hour into the press performance, the on-stage lights waned. A few minutes later, the actors, carrying on in semi-darkness, were interrupted by a stage manager who explained that the theatre (in fact, all of the theatres on that part of Shaftesbury Avenue) had been hit by a partial power cut that had knocked out the stage lighting and sound desk.
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Producers Pugh and Rogers and theatre owner Cameron Mackintosh asked the audience to remain patient. After a 15-minute break and Pugh’s declaration that the show must indeed go on, the performance resumed with the house lights up, minimal “working lights” on stage and sound effects (mainly, regular phone ringing) left to the collective imagination. At the conclusion, the four-strong cast were rewarded with whoops of support.
For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was on hand for the curtain call and post-show drinks reception at the Gielgud Theatre. Other first night guests including Neil Kinnock, Christopher Biggins, Penny Smith, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Alistair McGowan, Trevor Eve, Hadyn Gwynne, Michael Frayn, Miranda Richardson, Rafe Spall, Alexandra Mann, Art Malik, Toby Jones, Hamish McColl, Alex Jennings and Frank Skinner.
-by Terri Paddock