Review – Edgar and Annabel – Double Feature at National Theater’s Paintbox


The last week has left me in doubt that I could even enjoy the theater, given that I had seen three turkeys in a row. (Certainly I am accused of not liking theater at all by some folks who read my blog, as well as not having friends or a life.) Still, I glumly drug myself off to the National, hoping the tickets I’d bought somewhat at random for this thing called the “Double Feature” would pay off. I hadn’t really researched what the show(s) was(were) about, but had just grabbed a ticket so I could go with a friend … the exact kind of thoughtless enthusiasm that had landed me in the Lyttleton for the never ending pain that was A Woman Killed with Kindness. The show started at 8:15, I was nearly late, there was no time for a program or anything as I ran in the door somewhere back of the Cottlesloe and was sat down in the darkening theater …

To experience one of the best shows I’d seen in 2011. Edgar and Annabel immediately rocketed into my top ten of the year (#3 after Propellor’s Richard III and left me feeling like I’d gotten my money’s worth out of my ticket (£20) without even bothering to see the other show on the bill (The Swan – sadly to see both meant I wasn’t going to leave until 11 PM and I just couldn’t handle another night without enough sleep). It reminded me rather a lot of Mike Bartlett’s Contractions, another play about a horribly dystopian future where there is no limit to the amount of surveillance that takes place and no consideration for the yearnings of the human spirit. I feel like I can’t say much about the play without ruining the buckets of surprises it had in store, from the minute Annabel (Kirsty Bushell, I’m guessing) yelps as she sees Edgar (Trystan Gravelle, I believe) walk in in the door … but I was on tenterhooks throughout and really had no idea where it would go. To say it was like 1984 makes it sound too simple and preachy … but it was absolutely relevant to our modern society with its obsession with security and “keeping safe.” And about politics, not “this party is good and that party is bad” but what it means to be in a politicized society.

Anyway, this show was just GREAT great great and while I didn’t stay for the second show (report was that it was good, but not as good), I wholeheartedly encourage YOU to go see this. I can’t imagine how you will be disappointed. Sam Holcroft: thanks for making me feel good about supporting new writing unreservedly.

(This review is for a performance that took place on Tuesday, July 19th, 2011. It continues through September 10th.)


Tags: , , ,

One Response to “Review – Edgar and Annabel – Double Feature at National Theater’s Paintbox”

  1. TTC Says:

    Glad you’ve got your mojo back. I thought “The Swan” even better than “E and A” as it happens but both were of an unbelievably high standard. The National have done themselves proud with this pairing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: