The Lehman Trilogy: (seen at the afternoon performance on 17th July 2018).
This really is rather like the bank itself. Doughty and reliable until the
closing minutes, when it really does all fall to pieces. Es Devlin's remarkable
cuboid set (with Luke Halls rather distracting video projections) and Sam Mendes
inventive yet unobtrusive direction place Simon Russell Beale (Henry Lehman),
Ben Miles (Emanuel Lehman) and Adam Godley (Mayer Lehrman) in prime position to
tell a tale spanning over a century.
Act 1 sees three brothers coming to America and turning a wool and clothing
store into a bank. Act 2 is the establishment and growth in New York. Act 3 the
demise. The first act is deeply moving. A nod to Rabbi Epstein for the
perfection of the Jewish rituals and pronunciation, and all three actors as they
bring vivid life to their characters... and a good few more besides.
Act 2 is a transition as generations descend and take over. Beale is a wonder as
Philip, and there are some lovely comedy moments.
Sadly, the third act spoils the rest. While it is possible to overlook a lack of
detail about where the capital came from to expand business in act 1; you will
need either a good memory, Google or a copy of the programme to find out where
it all went wrong. Given that at that point we had invested nearly 3 hours of
careful attention, the effect is almost as if writer Stefano Massini and adaptor
Ben Power delivered a final script with a few pages missing. Mendes does his
best, but we need far more than we get.
Rather like a billion dollar byword for reliability failing with shocking
abruptness, so a crash from 5 stars and a standing ovation to 4 stars - with 5
only for acting and script was the monkey's mildly upset opinion.
War Horse: The monkey admits it wasn't keen on this in 2016 at the New
London Theatre. It found the puppets palled after the first 30 minutes, and most
of the storyline wasn't that engaging either. Perhaps it will appeal more back
at the National?
I'm Not Running: Not available.