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Waste review at Almeida Theatre London

A prescient decision on the part of the Almeida to revive Harley Granville Barker’s gripping political play, it is a reminder that some things never change.

At its heart is a scandal that threatens to bring down a government, and a demonstration of how affairs of the heart can be even more devastating that affairs of state.

It is a weighty piece, hindered perhaps by a lack of understanding of the political climate in twenties Britain on the audience’s behalf.

But while the play’s polemic threatens to bring proceedings to a halt, Will Keen’s performance as Henry Trebell – the character at the heart of the matter – gives colour and humanity to the piece.

It is a powerful portrayal of a fiercely intelligent man who, despite his skilful mastery of the political world and attempt to control the chaotic events around him, allows his passions to bring him down to earth. Some things really never do change.

Samuel West ensures that every word, every movement, is calculated – but without impinging on the play.

Nuances and subtext thread themselves through the production, tying the audience to it.

Barker’s script is beautifully written, his diligent use of language and well-placed bon mot worthy of his contemporaries, Wilde and Shaw – he is the progeny of both. A jewel of a production.

Production Information

Almeida Theatre, London, September 25-November 15

Harley Granville Barker
Samuel West
Almeida Theatre
Bruce Alexander, Max Bennett, Nancy Carroll, Richard Cordery, Patrick Drury, Peter Eyre, Will Keen, Helen Lindsay, Phoebe Nicholls, Hugh Ross, Jeany Spark, Giles Taylor, Michael Thomas, Jessica Turner
Running time

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