Versailles, a play directed by Peter Gill for the Donmar
When it comes to theatre, I’m no stranger to bailing out at the interval (isn’t that what intervals are for?… to let you decide whether to go for ice cream, for a smoke, for a bathroom break, or simply to go home?)… Especially at the Donmar, under Josie Rourke’s uneven tutelage (god, that woman can do boring quite spectacularly).
I was prepared to bail out on Versailles halfway through. Because of the topic (WWI), and the fact that it’s three hours, and the fact that the critics were not creaming themselves over it.
But as it turned out, I loved it and found it thoroughly engaging.
I loved it whenever it went macro and had the main protagonists discuss at length the geopolitical impact of the Versailles treaty, and I loved whenever it went micro and focused on the personal dramas caused by the war. I was particularly intrigued and moved by Hugh Skidmore’s storyline (the surviving soldier played by Josh O’Connor).
Fantastic acting throughout with some very poignant and emotional scenes — when Christopher Godwin (playing Arthur Chater) suddenly broke down, it grabbed my the throat and made me want to weep so loudly it was excruciating.
[Seen @ Donmar Warehouse, London, on Saturday 5 April 2014]