With not one but two plays currently running in the West End, American author Kenneth Lonergan is clearly on a roll. But whilst This Is Our Youth is a study of disaffected modern youth, his comic drama Lobby Hero, now transferring from the Donmar, takes a witty and penetrating look at the lives of four New Yorkers whose lives collide over the course of a few days.
Set in the lobby of a high-rise building in Manhattan, we first encounter Jeff (David Tennant), a security guard working the night shift. Feckless, amiable and all too aware that his life is speedily going nowhere, Jeff's banter and loquacious manner spring from boredom, his tedium briefly lifted by visits from his boss, the well-intentioned disciplinarian William(Gary McDonald). In the vicinity too are cops Bill(Dominic Rowan) and his rookie partner Dawn(Charlotte Randle) whom Jeff fancies. Over the course of one night several moral dilemmas emerge- William's brother has been implicated in a rape and murder, the bumptious Bill is having an amorous interlude whilst supposedly on duty, Dawn's facing a possible assault charge and right in the middle of all this is Jeff, privy to confidential information that will prove potentially explosive.
After a life of dodging responsibility Jeff finds himself firmly facing into the barrel of moral obligation; his response is what provides the play's fundamental backbone. David Tennant is superb, giving a portrayal of real sympathy and nuance. Similar plaudits go to the other three cast members, all of whom seem ideally cast in their respective roles. An engrossing comic drama that uses a gossamer touch to look at serious issues- like the American judicial system- it's the sort of play that theatreland- all too often fed by a diet of blandness- vitally needs..
What other critics had to say.....
ALASTAIR MACAULAY for THE FINANCIAL TIMES says, "Lonergan's ear for American vernacular is quite wonderful here......Best of all is David Tennant in the title role." LYN GARDNER for THE GUARDIAN says, "More comedy and less of the pulpit would help no end."
What other critics said at the Donmar Warehouse run in April 02:
DAVID BENEDICT for THE OBSERVER says, "Terrific production. " CHARLES SPENCER for DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "Outstanding new play." NICHOLAS DE JONGH for THE EVENING STANDARD says, "Mark Brokaw's beautifully judged production hits all its comic targets." BENEDICT NIGHTINGALE for THE TIMES says, "A play to relish, a young American author to watch." KATE BASSETT for THE INDEPENDENT says, "Mature, politically engaged play, developing into a heated ethical debate." MCHAEL BILLINGTON for THE GUARDIAN says, "Well paced production." Peter Hepple for THE STAGE says, "Extraordinarily absorbing play."
External links to full reviews from newspapers