Austin just sold his film script. Brother Lee stumbles back into his successful
life - with an even better idea for a movie.
Sam Shepherd's comedy plays out in the Californian desert, with Kit Harrington
and Johnny Flynn in the lead roles.
Madeleine Potter will play Mom – the mother of warring brothers Austin and Lee –
and Donald Sage Mackay will take the role of Hollywood producer, Saul Kimmer.
Olivier-nominated Matthew Dunster (Hangmen, Love And Money) will direct True
West. The creative team joining him includes Jon Bausor Set and Costume Design,
Joshua Carr Lighting Design and Ian Dickinson Sound Design. As well as playing
the role of Lee, Johnny Flynn will also compose original music for the
Rehearsal photographs (photo credit: Marc Brenner, used by kind permission).
(Seen at the afternoon preview performance on 1st December 2018)
Anyone who has a brother will instantly relate to this. Sam Shepard at his
absolute finest in a compact tale of sibling rivalry. By turn intriguing,
inventive, funny and shocking and often all four simultaneously.
Austin (Kit Harington) is the screen writer and “straight-goer” of the two. Lee
(Johnny Flynn) is drifter and criminal, yet catches the writing break from film
producer Saul (Donald Sage Mackay).
The brothers engage in endless duelling, and nothing turns out as audiences
imagine. Flynn’s engagement with Mackay is witty and both actors rise to it. Add
Harington’s huge emotional range and convincing actions in the second part (to
say more would be a spoiler) and it’s an engaging two hours – oh, and we meet
Mom (Madeleine Potter – nicely disgusted) too.
The production fails only in some curious production decisions. Jon Bausor’s set
expands in unnecessary fashion, and one wonders who wanted it to go that way. A
miscalculation by director Matthew Dunster perhaps – or a choice made before
realising what they already had? Either way, it dissipates the final scene
Still, a treat of a play in a mostly fine production and well acted.