Funny, interesting and insightful - this is the one play I'd recommend you see before the year is out, especially if you enjoy debating British politics and the state of the nation.
Capturing the current crisis at the heart of Britain, it is brilliantly written (Mike Bartlett), well directed (Rupert Goold), and excellently acted. Victoria Hamilton is absolutely terrific as the lead character Audrey, trying to create grandeur out of a decayed past, and for me at her best when acting directly against her oldest friend Katherine (Helen Schlesinger). The two scenes of conflict between these two are the human drama at the core of the play, as Audrey struggles with Katherine's relationship with her daughter.
What I really respected the play for was the subtlety of its messages. You could enjoy the play just on the level of that human drama. Or you could see how the characters are representing the fractured ideals and goals of different aspects of this country.
Wanted to say that the play is completely dominated by the women here, with extra support from Audrey's daughter (Charlotte Hope) who falls into a relationship with her best 'friend', the partner of her dead son (Vinette Robinson), and the two cleaners representing the archaic british Margot Leicester ousted by the efficient Polish Edyta Budnik. There are great roles here to work with if you're a female actor of any age.
Despite all my praise, I don't agree with the vision of Britain - one end of the spectrum being a futile and blinkered attempt to hold onto a false vision of a glorious past, contrasted with the disposal of all values and dreams in the pursuit of monetary gain and success. Or I just hope that this isn't all Britain has become... Damian Lewis was directly opposite me in the audience tonight, as was Elliot Levey, who I'm much more used to seeing on-stage (Saint Joan, Coriolanus) - he had a wondeful laugh :).