Thursday, 10 March 2016

"Look Back In Anger" by John Osborne
Derby Theatre

The original "angry young man" play which has come home to roost to Derby. I must admit that I've never seen the film and this, I think, was a bonus in seeing this play for the first time.

 It concerns a love triangle involving an intelligent and educated but disaffected, working class young man, Jimmy Porter (Patrick Knowles), his upper-middle-class, impassive wife Alison (Augustina Seymour), and her haughty best friend Helena Charles (Daisy Badger). Cliff, an amiable Welsh lodger, attempts to keep the peace is played by Jimmy Fairhurst and Ivan Stott plays Colonel Redfern.

Patrick keeps his character simmering like a pressure cooker, which you feel is just on the verge of boiling over, but just when you think it's all going to kick off, the lid is put back on. he keeps an air of tension and gives the impression that he could be a dangerous man if he did lose it.

Augustina, again simmers but delivers a really passionate and heartfelt breakdown at the end of the play.

Daisy, as Helena, manages to fall under the bad boy Jimmy's spell, proving that the more you appear to dislike a certain person, is more likely to be hiding a passionate longing for them. She becomes a carbon copy wife set by Alison, and the circle continues.

Jimmy, who I remember from "Brassed Off" a few months ago at the Derby Playhouse, appears laid back to start with but even a best friend can only take so much verbal and physical, albeit friendly, abuse.

Although the play was written in the 1950's many of the subjects brought up by Jimmy Porter are still rife today. the homophobic comments, the class system and the attitude towards women are still current topics.The play proves to be an influential and important piece of modern literature which is still on many a school's curriculum.

The set is split into quarters with sections of the period flat easily divided and was designed by Neil Irish. Simple and effective with loads of props to keep your eyes roaming about for various knick knacks of interest.

Director Sarah Brigham brings out an almost impossible tense atmosphere in act one which also spills over into the second part. there's also an air of walking on egg shells when around porter and this nervous anticipation creeps into the audience.

"Look Back In Anger" is on at The Derby Theatre until Saturday 26 March 2016.

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