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Amy’s View at the Theatre Royal Windsor

Published by: Clare Brotherwood on 2nd Jul 2015 | View all blogs by Clare Brotherwood

 

 

Sadly, the popular six-week Windsor Repertory Season ends on Saturday - but it’s certainly finishing in style.

David Hare’s controversial play Amy’s View, which opened at the National Theatre in 1997 with Judi Dench, Samantha Bond and Ronald Pickup heading the cast, is no lightweight.

Though, on the surface, it charts the relationship between a mother and daughter over a 16-year period, it is packed full of social comment, so typical of the knighted playwright.

I was totally transported to the house in Pangbourne (not far from Windsor) where the first three acts take place. There is an atmosphere about David Shields’ set which makes it totally authentic - despite the fact that nothing in the room changes over 16 years.

Amy (of the title) is the daughter of famous actress, widow Esme Allen, and the play opens with Esme returning from the theatre to find Amy and her boyfriend, Dominic in the home she shares with her mother-in-law.

What transpires is most extraordinary, for Dominic, a wannabe film producer, has never been to the theatre, describing it as ‘boring’ and art as ‘snobbish’ - not what a theatre audience wants to hear, but it certainly makes them sit up and take notice.

Dominic is opinionated and subject to mood swings, and, to be perfectly honest, James Lawrence lacks the gravitas of such a character; he’s too nice. On the other hand Sarah Kempton, as Amy, is spot on as the totally besotted girlfriend who will do anything to keep Dominic, much to the dismay of her mother, played with great theatricality by Fiz Marcus.

In Act 2, Dominic has his own series on TV, a medium Esme disapproves of, but by Act 3 she is starring in a hospital series having lost all her money through investments made by her ‘companion’ Frank, a mild-mannered neighbour, played quietly and empathetically by James Pellow.

As Esme’s mother-in-law, the youthful Pearl Marsland does a grand job of playing an old woman, first as a sprightly, eccentric grandmother, then as someone who has dementia. But in the third act all she does is sit in a wheelchair with her back to the audience (maybe it isn’t Pearl!) muttering occasionally, and when the household goes to bed she is left there!

The final act is a revelation, on various levels, and director Stuart Burrows really ups the ante as Esme enjoys a comeback in the theatre. Until then, although theatrical, Fiz Marcus has been a bit one dimensional but her closing performance leaves the audience emotional and exhausted. Just why, you’ll have to see the play to find out.

Although only joining the play in the last act, Toby Cole certainly makes his mark with an energetic portrayal of an admiring fellow actor - and helps to make the final scene as spectacular as it is.

 

Amy’s View is at the Theatre Royal Windsor until July 4

Box Office: 01753 853888

www.theatreroyalwindsor.o.uk

Comments

1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 2 years ago
    Thanks, Clare. All good things must come to an end.
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