Don Taylor's new play, which he directs himself, addresses some topics of perennial importance, particularly relevant today as we stand on the brink of yet another worldwide conflict. Taking the ambitious theme of the twentieth century's violent legacy, he uses the reunion of an estranged father and daughter as the catalyst for an examination of how idealism can so often be betrayed and personal courage falter in the face of expediency or self-interest.
Jay is an elderly man, once vigorously involved with the 1968 demonstrations for peace but now disenchanted by modern society. The unexpected arrival of his longlost daughter acts as a counterpoint to his musings - here expressed in long monologue- about how contemporary society, which seemed to have evolved so admirably by 1900 managed to go so catastrophically astray.
Without doubt there's much food for thought here and indeed the material often seems better suited to philosophical discussion than in its current form. The dramatic scope covered here is simply too broad so that instead of full engagement one ends up feeling mentally submerged by the sheer amount of information being filtered through the four characters. Less density and more subtlety of exposition would surely achieve a more powerful effect since it's a shame to see such a good idea under-developed.
Notices from the popular press....
IAN JOHNS for THE TIMES says, "Not a play to engage with easily, ....But at least ...is powered by a fierce passion." JOHN THAXTER for THE STAGE says, "Actors bring an absorbing presence to their roles." DOMINIC CAVENDISH for THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "Relishably intelligent but irksomely protracted new play."
External links to full reviews from newspapers