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Wrecks review at Bush Theatre London

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Is Neil LaBute turning out to be most produced of all contemporary American playwrights in London? Last year we had Fat Pig in the West End and In a Dark, Dark House at the Almeida; now the Bush give us the belated London premiere of his monologue Wrecks, first staged in Cork in Ireland in 2005 with film actor Ed Harris making a return to the stage and subsequently seen in New York the following year.

The Bush doesn’t give us quite the same star power in Robert Glenister, but he still gives a performance of insinuatingly understated power and minutely-calibrated control as a man offering a 70 minute reverie to his late wife, Mary Jo, just before her funeral. The theatre itself springs one great surprise – designer Lucy Osborne has transformed the space into a very precise recreation of a luxurious funeral parlour, complete with carpeted walls and floors and even (a Bush first, here) comfortable seats!

But, this being LaBute, you just know there’s an even bigger surprise in store, and so it proves. It would be unfair to give it away, but this story of a loving, long-term marriage brought to a premature end by the wife’s death from cancer eventually packs a powerful punch.

It’s also, of course, a disturbing and sinister one, too and Glenister narrates it brilliantly to gain our trust, sympathy and empathy. The Bush may have never been more comfortable to sit in – but a play has seldom been more discomforting to watch there.

Production Information

Bush Theatre, London, February 10-March 28

Neil LaBute
Josie Rourke
Bush Theatre
Robert Glenister
Running time
1hr 10mins

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