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God of Carnage review at Theatre Royal Bath – ‘caustic comedy’

Amanda Abbington, Ralf Little, Nigel Lindsay and Elizabeth McGovern in God or Carnage at Bath Theatre Royal. Photo: Nobby Clark

Hot on the heels of a tremendous production of Arthur Miller`s family drama The Price [1], Theatre Royal Bath stages a revival of Yasmina Reza`s caustic comedy of middle class folly God of Carnage.

Premiering 10 years ago, Reza’s unsettling, restless play remains mint-fresh in its exploration of the pitfalls of parenthood.

Reza is best known for her hugely successful play Art. She’s particularly strong in underscoring the quartet of parents` anxieties about married life, as they come together in Peter McKintosh`s posh living room set to discuss a playground assault by one of their child on the offspring of the other couple. Civilised harmony quickly descends into ugly yet hilarious ferocity, with the parents` child-like insults flagging up their own insecurities.

 

 

Lindsay Posner’s production benefits from fine performances from Nigel Lindsay, as a self-styled neanderthal salesman, Elizabeth McGovern`s bleeding heart liberal, Ralf Little`s manipulative lawyer and Amanda Abbington`s fragile wife. All four are adept both at shaping the shifting alliances between the couples and at rapidly becoming more brat-like than their children who started the rumpus. Lindsay is particularly good, even winning a little of the audience’s sympathy, with his uncouth behaviour and Abbington revels in her memorable scene of projectile vomiting.

Posner makes clever use of the play`s structure, with each parent becoming in turn the focus of a scene. The play’s ending, however, leaves virtually unanswered all the questions surrounding social hypocrisy that it raises.

Verdict
Strong production of Yasmina Reza’s razor-sharp, if oddly insubstantial, modern sitcom of middle class values

Production

Production
God of Carnage
Venue
Theatre Royal
City
Bath
Starts
August 29, 2018
Ends
September 15, 2018
Press night
September 5, 2018
Authors
Yasmina Reza
Translation
Christopher Hampton
Director
Lindsay Posner
Set
Peter McKintosh
Lighting
Howard Harrison
Sound
Harry Johnson
Cast includes
Elizabeth McGovern, Amanda Abbington, Ralf Little, Nigel Lindsay
Producer
Theatre Royal Bath
Running time
1hr 15mins