One of the BEST plays I have ever had the privilege to watch.
I went to the last night of this play at the National. I went with my oldest buddy, Ed Daffarn, who is a survivor from that awful night. Ed and I grew up together in a different part of the Royal Borough. This can't be the end of the play, it is too important to only be on for 6 weeks. Gillian Slovo has constructed a play from the words of the survivors and some of the inquiry. I had thought it would be grim and a whole lot of talking heads. But she has constructed the most clever, powerful 3 hours of theatre I have ever seen. I don't know where the writing and the directing overlap, but it couldn't be done more subtly or gracefully. Phyllida Lloyd and Anthony Simpson-Pike directed. Phyllida's work I have seen but not Anthony's, I am obviously a huge admirer of hers, she is absolute class. (quick sideline, I believe she directed my wife in her first play out of drama school A Midsummer Night's Dream, when Anna was Titania.... Would have loved to have seen that!!!)
We often say casting is 80% of the job, well, they did that 80% perfectly. I have rarely seen a play when EVERY member of the cast was just right. Seriously, they couldn't be bettered, not in my opinion, and if it has life in New York or in other British cities, which it absolutely should, then I hope they keep this cast together. Not one moment was dropped. Never did the energy flag, not for a second. This play is VITAL.
I can only imagine what it must be like for those survivors who watched it, and many were there on Saturday night. My heart goes out to all the people from that COMMUNITY. I put COMMUNITY in capitals because ultimately that is what the play is about. It is rightly damning of those that allowed it to happen, David Cameron, the local authorities, the housing ministry, the TMO, the manufacturers. I sat next to a lady who works in the UN's Human Rights office who asked me at half-time what I thought Justice would mean for the survivors, but the answer came at the end of the play. It is different for everyone, but accountability would be a fucking good place to start!
I am so proud to have Ed back in my life and to have met some of his community, every one of them is a lesson in nobility and integrity.