The play tells of Didion’s struggles to come to terms with the death of John Gregory Dunne, her husband of 39 years, who died in 2003. This was followed just two years later by the death of their daughter from acute pancreatitis. The stage adaptation of The Year of Magical Thinking premiered in March 2007 at Broadway’s Booth Theatre, where it ran for five months and earned Redgrave a Best Actress nomination at last year’s Tony Awards (See News, 15 May 2007).
Described by director David Hare as “an indispensable handbook to bereavement”, the play examines the pain and disillusionment caused by the sudden loss of a loved one. As Joan’s daughter fights for her life, she clings onto the hope that by saving her, she can bring her husband back, keeping his shoes in poignant readiness. The production is designed by Bob Crowley.
The reaction of first night critics was generally strong, Redgrave in particular emerging with similar plaudits to those she received in New York. And although some found the play “oddly unaffecting” considering its difficult subject matter, most were keen to highlight the quality of the “unforgettable” acting – with Whatsonstage.com's Michael Coveney stating that its leading lady has “never been finer”.
- by Theo Bosanquet
** DON’T MISS our Whatsonstage.com Outing to THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING on 19 May 2008 – including a FREE drink & our EXCLUSIVE Q&A with both DAVID HARE & (just confirmed) VANESSA REDGRAVE!!!! - click here for more info! **
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