Following success with Talking to Terrorists and The Arab-Israeli Cookbook, Soans’ new play investigates the national obsession with scandal, through interviews with Neil and Christine Hamilton, Major Charles Ingram, Lord Montagu – all of whom were in the first-night audience – as well as Edwina Currie, Margaret Cook, Craig Murray, powerful PRs, paparazzi and others who’ve been involved in media furores.
Amongst other roles, Quentin (pictured) plays Christine Hamilton in a cast that also comprises Michael Mears, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Philip Bretherton, Simon Coates, Tim Preece and Bruce Alexander. The production is directed by Hampstead artistic director Anthony Clark and designed by Patrick Connellan. It’s co-produced by the Drum Theatre, Plymouth where, following London, it will run from 24 October to 10 November 2007.
First-night critics unanimously admired Robin Soans’ adept interview skills and his ability both to gain access to his subjects and to get them to talk so candidly, producing some fantastic, and often fantastically amusing, revelations. One went so far as to rave that the overall result is “one of the strongest and most fascinating new plays of the year”. However, others felt that, by comparison with Talking to Terrorists, the focus of Life After Scandal was less clear and less worthy, while one derided verbatim drama in general as “vacuous gimmickry”. There was all-round praise for the performances, particularly Caroline Quentin as the old “battleaxe” Christine Hamilton.
- by Terri Paddock