For those of us that missed the glorious baptism in the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs in the summer of 1995, there’s a heavy bin-full of expectation hanging over this revival of Jez Butterworth’s first play, which director Ian Rickson has openly trumpeted as its confirmation into the great and holy church of modern classics. There’s little that’s leaden or awkward about this star-littered switchback of a production, but the humour cuts blunter than it does on the page, and the play never quite breaks free of the spectre of that rapturous reception almost twenty years ago.
It’s still a hell of a show. A comedy that’s so black it takes a while for your eyes to adjust. The courtly shenanigans of Marlowe’s Edward II exploding in a Soho dance hall in the birthing pains of rock and roll, it’s Reservoir Hound Dogs with quiff-sharp, pre-Lock Stock cockney dialogue…
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