Closer by Patrick Marber at Donmar Warehouse

I am a huge fan of Donmar Warehouse because after every play I see there, I leave feeling elated by the mysterious beauty of theatre and the team behind the play. This theatre allows me to view familiar actors in a new light ( after seeing Nicole Kidman on stage, in the Blue Room, she fully started owning the spotlight in her own right, being the wife of Tom Cruise at the time became completely irrelevant ) and become immersed fully in the action taking place before your eyes. This theatre is wonderful intimate, its staff young and enthusiastic and the impressions you leave with turn into fond memories.

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Closer by Patrick Marber was made into a very successful movie a few years ago, with Jude Law and Natalie Portman and directed by the wonderful Mike Nichols but even though Patrick Marber was approached many times to transfer the play onto the theatre floor boards he resisted until a chance to introduce a fifth character, London, made perfect sense to the playwright.

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Going to see a matinée play for me is a rarity and on this occasion I was sitting in the audience full of young students and mature adults, American accents mixing with the British ones.

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The play itself revolves around the lives of four people that accidentally ( or not ?) become intertwined. A mature doctor Larry, played by Rufus Sewell draws you in by his playfulness yet complete breakdown in the face of losing the woman he loves. He will antagonise, scheme, beg, flirt, all the while you get lost in your own confusion – does he deserve sympathy or is he a monster? Nancy Carroll, who plays photographer Anna, is beautiful and strong, or is she, succumbing to passion that will confuse her. The younger member of the cast is Rachel Redford that plays mysterious Alice, who is riveting as a young woman, fleeting between self-assurance of youth and the manipulation that comes with years of life experience. And what to make of Oliver Chris‘s Dan, who cares about one woman, then wants to be together with another and ultimately, what is he left with?

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The play is loud and raw, funny and heart-breaking, with lots of sexual references and innuendo that elicited giggles from the younger audience members and made more mature viewers whisper something feverishly to their other half. How does love change us? What makes us choose one person over the other? Is being faithful possible in our day and age or are we all hunters, on the look-out for passion, sex, the immediacy of attraction that might be lost the longer we stay with the partner? How does love evolve? Does maturity bring wisdom? Who is more attractive – a young, risk-taking young woman or a wiser, more self-assured older one? Equally do you choose a man with money and experience or do you go for someone who adores you – mind you all those questions are simplified, the issues raised by the play go much deeper and require lots of thought.

The cast of the play was electrifying, each of the actors bringing something of their own in order to complete the play that evolved before your eyes. As I left the darkness of the theatre for the brightness of spring sunshine, I couldn’t help but watch my footing closely, while I was engrossed in deep thought. Love + relationships = life…..

Categories: Culture, Reviews

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