I understand that you are not a fan of nightwear but I urge you to go and see the revival of Noel Coward’s Design For Living at the Old Vic as I am certain that if anything can sway you, this will.
Then should an Icelandic volcano ever again force us into closer-than-natural nocturnal proximity I shall at least be spared the sight of your knees as they clatter to the bathroom and back every two hours at the behest of your (in my admittedly non-medical opinion) AD/HD bladder.
For designer Lez Brotherston has excelled himself vis a vis pyjamas. Cock & Sherlock alumnus Andrew Scott and Tom Burke (so marvellously pathetic in Creditors at the Donmar, godson of Alan Rickman, son of Anna Calder Marshall) get to sport what could easily be the most beautiful pair of matching pyjamas ever to grace the London stage. This scene could not have been sexier if the cuddling pair had been naked. I think you will find that I am vindicated in all matters concerning the aesthetics, glamour and practicality of jimjams. I covet these silver-grey pyjamas and will be writing a begging letter to Mr Kevin Spacey in the hope that he hasn’t got his eye on them too once the run ends.
What else can I say? Well, Mr Brotherston has also come up with a beautiful third act Art Deco Manhattan apartment which frames the pyjamas perfectly. I am also coveting the three piece sofa. there is a very nice bar in Act II. All in all it is, quite possibly, the most opulent design I have seen for a very long time.
Scott, Burke and Lisa Dillon (Cranford) all do well as the ménage who love each other equally and cannot exist apart. Scott is particularly interesting – he brings a high pitched freshness, a certain hyperactivity and no little allure to the stage, even in daywear. There is faultless support from Maggie McCarthy as the Act II comedy housekeeper Miss Hodge. Angus Wright treads an interesting path from the dullest man on earth to Basil Fawlty.
It is not without its problems – you would not be impressed by the on-stage meal: two lettuce leaves and a couple of tiny pieces of ham do not a meal make (I have already explained this to you at your last so-called dinner party). And I did find myself worrying that Lisa Dillon was turning into Felicity Kendal. One is fine but one is enough.
The problem however is the length. The publicised running time of 2 hours 40 minutes including two 15-minute intervals was apparently “correct at time of going to press” so how it has managed to balloon to nigh on three hours is anyone’s guess. I don’t recall the play being this long before. But every act feels slightly over-long. Perhaps the director Anthony Page can sort it out in the remaining previews. Particularly alarming was the drunk scene which rather outstayed its welcome and did make me worry that this may be how we come across from time to time. But I dismissed the thought as ridiculous.
I think it is all very well done and there was much to admire but the time didn’t fly by and, really, I do think it should have done. I’m at something of a loss to put my finger on why I wasn’t swept away. More gentlemen’s nightwear might have swung it for me. I am quite sure that other people will like it more than I. In fact they do.