One shudders to imagine how devastating Alzheimer’s disease (or any related condition) can impact on a person and the people close to them. For the first time my eyes have opened to the revelation of how appallingly unwell a sufferer is. We see that Andre is extremely poorly.
The clever writing, and the dramatic and technical devices deployed, goes such a long way to demonstrate the confused state and gross deterioration of Andre’s memory, mind and thoughts. As onlookers we actually mentally, visually; physically even, experience Andre’s loss of his faculties and how upsetting, frustrating and hopelessly bleak it is for daughter, Anne.
On the face of it the play may appear sedate, with Andre in various room settings in his pyjamas, but there is an unsettling tone attached, fully intentional. Very wise to not break momentum with an interval break, so the play runs for 1 ½ hours straight through.
Largely because of the wonderful material presented by France’s most celebrated living playwright, Florian Zeller, and translator Christopher Hampton (translated from French to English), this is ground breaking theatre. The play is unsparing, powerful, and hugely insightful. There was a standing ovation on press night and for many great reasons, but mainly because of the memorable performance by award winning actor, Kenneth Cranham as Andre.
Andre -Kenneth Cranham (illustrious actor of Stage, TV, Film, Radio) – Note: For his role in The Father, Cranham won the 2016 Olivier Award for Best Actor and the 2015 Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Anne – Amanda Drew (credits include National Theatre, West End – TV credits include EastEnders and Broadchurch)
Other cast members are four Actors of Stage, TV, and Film:
Daniel Flynn as Pierre
Jade Williams as Laura
Brian Doherty as Man
Rebecca Charles as Woman
Photography by Simon Annand
Theatre Critic, Debra Hall attended press night of The Father in an official capacity at The Birmingham Repertory Theatre on Tuesday 03 May 2016