‘Privacy’ by James Graham
at the Donmar Theatre
21st April, 2014
‘If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear’
Within the first few minutes of the play’s opening, I could be forgiven for thinking that I had walked on to Dara O’Brien’s TV programme: ‘The Science Club’, with a design to tackle the biggest threat to man who thinks he is immune to the prying eyes of the surveillance state. Such is the witty tenor and pace of delivery of razor sharp lines of enquiry that the play seems part documentary and part satirical sketch.
No, this is ‘Privacy’ by James Graham which arrives at the Donmar in a tsunami of expectation after the success of his play, ‘This House’ about coalition politics.
Placing himself as the troubled author (Joshua McGuire) on a journey through the digital quagmire of our age, Graham uses discussions of privacy focused on data collection by giant advertising and analytics companies. The whole cast (Gunnar Cauthery, Paul Chahidi, Jonathan Coy, Joshua McGuire, Nina Sosanya, Michelle Terry) are just superb; very versatile in acting a variety of roles for enquiry. Continue reading Privacy
‘Versailles’ by Peter Gill at Donmar Warehouse
5th April 2014
A guest review by Derek Linney
Write a 5,000 word essay on ‘The Versailles Treaty as an illustration of the choices facing the British after the Great War’. Your answer should pay particular attention to the disposition of the Saar coalfields and whether ceding them to France, as reparation or punishment of Germany, was political expediency at the cost of longer term stability in post-war Europe. If you can link this theme to the social changes, or lack thereof, occurring in upper-middle class English households and to women’s suffrage, bohemianism, shell-shock, capitalism and Bolshevism, Empire and also the relationship between the civil service and politicians then additional marks may be awarded. Introducing the subject of homosexuality into your answer may also improve your grade.
This, well the first part anyway, could be one of the essays in the final year of my History degree. But rather it is the starting point for Peter Gill’s three-hour long play that has just finished its run at the Donmar Warehouse. I was first attracted to the play by its subject matter related to the Versailles Treaty but it turned out to be an enjoyable theatrical experience. Gill succeeds in treating his audience as intelligent and knowledgeable rather than spoon-feeding us the historical background and without the need to sign-post the points he is making. The majority of theatre critics liked the play although some commentators have been less generous, obviously finding three hours of largely intellectual discussion too much for them.
Continue reading Versailles