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Ecstasy at Hampstead Theatre

April 8, 2011

We went to see this Mike Leigh written and directed play at Hampstead Theatre a couple of weeks ago – and I’m still not sure if I enjoyed it! We were pleased to have secured tickets for what was bound to be a sold out production and arrived full of anticipation. Ecstasy is a funny but bleak play, set towards the end of the 1970s at a time of depression and power cuts, so we knew it may not be the happiest of evenings…

The set is perfect for the play. It is compact and oppressive and intelligently portrays the smallness and drabness of bed-sit life at that time. The play starts at the end of a one-night stand and concentrates on two friends who have moved to London from the Midlands – Jean (played by Sian Brooke) and Dawn (played by Sinead Matthews). I didn’t buy in to the passiveness of Jean – she may have been ground down by life but I found it hard to believe she would let things wash over her so much when she had such a livewire of a friend in Dawn. Sinead Matthews deserves all the plaudits going as Dawn – she caught the accent beautifully, displayed fabulous comic timing and gave the character real warmth. The play certainly came to life in the (extremely long) second act as Jean and Dawn were joined by Dawn’s husband Mick (played by Allen Leech) and old friend Len (played by Craig Parkinson). The chemistry between Sinead Matthews and Allen Leech was just wonderful and the tenderness shown by Craig Parkinson as dumped and caring Len was pitched perfectly.

This is a good play and is well worth going to see as it transfers to the West End – I just didn’t think it was as great as the critics would have me believe.

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From → Theatre Reviews

One Comment
  1. I love Sinead Matthews.
    Your revue makes me wish i lived in England.

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