Thursday, 22 May 2014
Other Desert Cities
We popped along to the Old Vic to see 'Other Desert Cities', which is just nearing the end of its run.
The Old Vic has been converted back to an 'in the round' seating again and looks good for it. Kevin Spacey has been the Artistic Director at the Old Vic for many years and as he bows out from the role, he will also be performing there again, as Clarence Darrow, the grisly crimes lawyer.
So what to make of Other Desert Cities?
It is set in Palm Springs, where novelist Brooke Wyeth is back home to spend Christmas with her wealthy parents. After a breakdown and writer's block she intends to publish a memoir about the family. There are inevitable repercussions.
The play has received good reviews everywhere, with a strong cast comprising Sinéad Cusack, Peter Egan, Clare Higgins, Daniel Lapaine and Martha Plimpton.
The writer Jon Robin Baitz, has mainly written for television and I sometimes wondered if this was written as one imagines a piece of 'proper' drama should be written, losing something as a result.
It was a kind of vehicle for debates about American politics and wealthy viewpoints flagged up to be challenged. A British version of something similar would probably have more of a study of manners than was apparent in this production. Admittedly there were some twists, but I found the 'big reveal' to be a tad predictable.
It was interesting to view, but somehow difficult to really feel for the situation in the way it was portrayed.
It's still good to be at the Old Vic and to see a production that isn't simply amongst the west end musicals.