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The Power of Yes review at National Lyttelton London

“This isn’t a play. It’s a story,” says the Author, the David Hare character played by Anthony Calf in this piece of uber-megatheatre.

It is a story, certainly. The story of what lead up to the global financial meltdown last September. Hare interviewed figures including George Soros, the hedge-fund manager, and Jon Cruddas, the MP. The other people featured are real, too, but if you’ve heard of them, I’m thinking you’re probably reading the wrong newspaper.

These interviews have been spliced up to form the narrative. And it’s compelling. It is a masterpiece of storytelling. Hare has created what is essentially a dramatised lecture – it’s one of those programmes on BBC4 that you feel you should watch, but you don’t because there’s a makeover programme on Channel 4 that requires no thought.

Hare understands narrative so well and just as the pace drops, just as the talk of sub-prime mortgages and toxicâ?¦ erm, things gets too much, he drops in an easy to understand statistic that instantly pulls the audience back in. Rather than having a character say “and that is why I am your father” or “she was sleeping with my wife”, his characters tell us things such as banking providing 27% of the tax raised in Britain or that the US was borrowing five billion dollars a day.

There’s nothing to say about performances – they are reciting words. There’s no characterisation. No dynamic. The story is all.

Production Information

National, Lyttelton, London, October 6-29

David Hare
Angus Jackson
National Theatre
Julien Ball, Anthony Calf, Richard Cordery, Jonathan Coy, Paul Freeman, Ian Gelder, John Hollingworth, Bruce Myers, Claire Price, Jeff Rawle, Christian Roe, Jemima Rooper, Malcolm Sinclair, Peter Sullivan, Nicolas Tennant, Simon Williams
Running time
1hr 55mins

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