Sunday, 12 October 2014

'The Vertical Hour' Park Theatre ****

One abundantly recognises the colossal strains of father-son relationships, especially when their differences cause a wedge between them, and that no love is apparent. David Hare’s 2006 play ‘The Vertical Hour’ is currently delighting audiences at Finsbury Park's fruitful venue, the Park Theatre, and one found the production was especially thrilling to witness. ‘The Vertical Hour’, which became the fastest selling production in the Royal Court’s history acquaints us with former International Correspondent- now University Lecturer, India and boyfriend, Philip have decided to visit Phillip’s father in the quaint English town of Shropshire. However, Philip and his father Oliver, a former medical physician do not seem to have the most comfortable of relationships due to the fact that the divorce that occurred with Oliver and his ex-wife was increasingly horrifying, and particularly traumatic when Philip was a very young man. India asks why Philip has so much hatred towards his father, and he states that Oliver is a vile womaniser, and disagrees is that with the Iraq War that India has exceptionally strong connections with. During an awkward dinner, and throughout the early hours of the morning, Oliver and India constantly debate on whether intervening with war on Iraq was an appropriate course of action. As well as, we learn that India has had the opportunity to discuss the foreign policy in relation to the Middle East and Iraq with the American President, George W. Bush, and actually advised him on what was necessary. Oliver articulates that the reasoning why the United Kingdom and America obliterated Iraq was problematic as the reconstruction of the country has never been successful, and no weapons of mass destruction were never found. Furthermore, Oliver explains to India the actual reason why he split up with Phillip’s mother, within the same conversation which was devastating and shocking. Phillip’s jealousy is emancipated with the thought of a possible affair between his father and his girlfriend, and of course is fundamental untrue, which causes his own relationship to falter. Hare’s narrative is exceedingly captivating as the opposed and fraught relationships that Oliver and Philip have with one another is stupendously emotive in places. One thought the performances by the company of ‘The Vertical Hour’ were delivered with such tenacity and ease. Peter Davison is sublime as the GP, Oliver; in particular when he does finally explanation why he divorced his son's mother was in immensely powerful moment and conveys a somewhat softer side to the character, which is not apparent at the beginning. Unfortunately due to the indisposition of Thusitha Jayasunda, we are welcomed with Rose McPhilemy performing a role with a script in hand. Although it was unexpected, she did convey the correct facial expressions and movements that were necessary for the characterisation. Finlay Robertson is brilliant as the despondent son, Phillip especially within the tension that is between him and his father, and the possessive nature was remarkable. Nigel Douglas's direction is exceptional here as the attention to detail of capturing a stubborn relationship between a father and son was phenomenally appealing and compelling throughout. Charlie Darry’s design is opulent as one was immediately transported to the Shropshire atmosphere, and the textures used within the set were charming and mesmerising. One must commend Harry Barker's incredible sound design as it added an extra layer to a pristine performance. Overall, I thought that the experience of ‘The Vertical Hour’ was incredibly charismatic, despite the lead female's absence. Well worth a visit to the Park Theatre if you can.

No comments:

Post a Comment