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The third of his Mother, Father, Son tryptic to strike the London stage; The Son deviates from the other two plays in its style – more direct, less abstract, more graphic.

The three plays, whilst tied together in title, are actually stand-alone plays so you don’t need to have seen The Mother or The Father to make sense of this production.

Translated by his ongoing collaborator, Christopher Hampton, The Son is set in Paris and hones in on the pains and tribulations of a troubled teenager Nicolas (Laurie Kynaston).

Laurie Kynaston’s raw performance in the focal role is convincing and upsetting. John Light, who plays his father Pierre, is also remarkably convincing – exposing the struggles of fatherhood – separated from Nicolas’ mother and with a new-born baby with his girlfriend, Sofia.

The two mothers in this play were less convincing for me, and at times felt like they were saying lines, but the emotion pouring from Kynaston and Light carried the show.

The one-act play, directed by Michael Longhurst, was harrassing throughout and powerfully charged through without me feeling the need for an interval.

That said, it certainly wasn’t light entertainment, and at the final curtain I felt drained and needed a long walk.

I went with a friend who is a Psychologist, she said watching this play was like being at work.

Lizzie Clachan’s set design was simple and clever, with a second room that was partially revealed and obscured at different moments during the play, indicating different locations in an otherwise static set.

The Son opened at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London on 24 August 2019 for a 10-week run.

Running Time: 1 hour 45 minutes (no interval)

Review overview

Overall Performance 9.5
Production Design 9
Theatre 8.5

Summary

9 front row score Christopher Hampton's translation of The Son keeps all of the brutal honesty of Florian Zeller's French original. This production, directed by Michael Longhurst, is well-worth seeing. But don't expect an evening of light-entertainment - this play is hard hitting, and you genuinely feel the angst experienced by the tormented Nicolas throughout. The set design, bu Lizzie Clachan, is clean and clever, making use of partially obscured second rooms and dividing walls to subtly shift between locations in an otherwise static set. The Duke of York's Theatre is one of my favourite in London. It's not huge, and has all of the classical characteristics that you would want of a traditional West End theatre.

Tags : Amaka OkaforAmanda AbbingtonChristopher HamptonDuke of York's TheatreFlorian ZellerJohn LightLaurie KynastonLizzie ClachanMichael LonghurstThe Son

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