“Mystic, wonderful, amazing things are going to happen”
In what turned out to be a rather fortuitous piece of timing, my return visit to The Last of the Haussmans came at a point when I was beginning to think that I’d left my love of theatre back with a broken pair of flip-flops on holiday, so uninspiring have my last few trips to the theatre been. But this play blew me away back in June, I left the National Theatre via the bookshop to immediately pick up the playtext and already planning who I might invite on a return trip. And sure enough it did the job, a jolt of theatrical Prozac that more than lived up to my expectations and reconfirmed my belief that this is one of the most exciting new plays of the year.
I won’t say much here as it would just be a retread of my original review and to be frank, there are only so many ways that one can describe the eighth wonder of the world that is Helen McCrory. She is just so truthful an actress that her mere presence on the stage is just hypnotic, and her talent so great that it really does convince people (as it did again tonight) that she is corpsing in one particular scene here. I thought I’d spend a little less time watching her as I did first time round and concentrate more on the other actors, but it was not to be – every time I looked away from her I felt like I was missing out on something!
Around her, the production still looks fantastic and the performances remained as strong as I remembered them (Ms Walters’ pointing finger aside) – Rory Kinnear just as heart-breaking, Isabella Laughland just as moodily poignant and Matthew Marsh’s oily creepiness more pointed for the knowledge of what he’s really up to. To criticise the play for not casting the 60s in a more favourable light is to miss the point that this is primarily a play about a family, flaws and all; and to criticise it for featuring unlikable people is to deny the messiness that characterises so many of our families. You have until the 11th October to catch this play – on which date it will be broadcast as part of NTLive – and I really would urge you to make the effort either way.