President of an Empty Room
Opened 28 June 2005
Written: by Steven Knight
Directed: Howard Davies
Cast: Georgina Ackerman, Jim Carter, Nona Dumezweni, Paul Hilton, Fraser James, Inika Leigh Wright, Petra Letang, Stephen Moore, Lucian Msamati, Anthony O'Donnell, Tracey Saunders.
Synopsis: A story of voodoo, heroin and tobacco. Amid the vibrant, spirited community of a Cuban cigar factory, the senior roller proclaims a democracy and work goes to hell. There's Flamenco dancing, bursts of opera, quarrels, reconciliations, revelations and a bungled sexual encounter; but Miguel has lost his sweetheart to America, there's a storm in Havana, and tobacco is the last thing on his mind.
What the critics had to say.....
CHARLES SPENCER for THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "A disappointment...though Howard Davies directs a characteristically atmospheric, well-acted production about a traumatic day in the life of the factory, he can't disguise the fact that Steven Knight's play is a thin little confection that presents a tourist's-eye view of Cuba."MICHAEL BILLINGTON for THE GUARDIAN says, "despite superb production and design, the play feels like a piece of tourist exotica...The play feels like an outsider's report rather than an insider's vision. And, in a desperate attempt to over-compensate, Knight gives us reams of plot and lashings of atmosphere." PETER HEPPLE for THE STAGE says, "A richly textured piece which leaves loose ends all over the place, Howard Davies nevertheless achieves a fine sense of ensemble...." SIOBHAN MURPHY for THE LONDON METRO says,"Knight has crammed a wealth of stories into his plot...But although the revelations come thick and fast and there is some superb acting on display, the action too often seems to stumble." BENEDICT NIGHTINGALE for THE TIMES says, " A piece that drags and lacks focus."