Review Round-up: Welcome Change at Donmar
The four-hander centres on the relationships between two working-class boyhood friends from 1950s Cardiff and their mothers. Focussing on the tragedy of unspoken emotion, it depicts the struggles of the boys as they grow into adulthood to free themselves from the apron strings and face up to the true nature of their feelings for each other.
Gill - whose other plays include Cardiff East, Kick for Touch, Certain Young Men and The York Realist - is now known as much for his directing as his writing. His directing credits include Days of Wine and Roses at the Donmar in 2005, Scenes from the Big Picture, Gaslight, The Voysey Inheritance and The Importance of Being Earnest, currently running at the Vaudeville Theatre and starring Penelope Keith.
Opening night had plenty of A-list glamour in the form of Kylie Minogue (See 1st Night Photos, 16 Apr 2008), but did the attendant critics feel Gill’s revival had star quality? Reactions were generally very positive, with many citing the “pitch-perfect performances” of the cast and the rich poetry of Gill’s “little masterpiece” as the primary strengths. Particular praise was reserved for the “marvellous” Sue Johnston, for portraying small-town Welsh mother Mrs Harte as “a martyr to causes she cannot understand”.
- by Theo Bosanquet