Esme, a West End veteran who makes a living through TV soap operas, is locked in a battle of ideology and emotional conflict with her daughter Amy. Spanning the years from Labour's fall from power in 1979 to post-Thatcherite England in 1995, Amy's View premiered in 1997 at the National - directed by Richard Eyre, Hall’s successor as NT artistic director, and starring Dench opposite Samantha Bond as Amy - and subsequently transferred to the West End and Broadway.
Hall’s new production, the play’s first major London revival, incorporates revisions Hare made for the Broadway premiere and co-stars Jenna Russell, seen earlier this year in the West End in Sunday in the Park with George. It’s designed by Simon Higlett, with lighting by Peter Mumford and sound by Gregory Clarke.
Overnight critics gave largely positive notices, with all enjoying the drama and the cast’s performances. Kendal, in particular, won raves for a mature turn, playing against her usual “winsome” image, while Jenna Russell and, in supporting roles, Gawn Grainger, Ryan Kiggell and Antonia Pemberton were also praised. While critics disagreed about the enduring merits of Hare’s play itself – with descriptions ranging from modern classic to dated - they felt that Hall’s “excellent” production raised interesting issues about art, politics and relationships.
- by Caroline Ansdell