It’s going to be fine…


Even today there are many people who either try to shrug off mental ill health or tell others to “pull themselves together”. Thankfully a couple of regal and sporting interventions have made it more acceptable for men especially to speak up and get help. Florian Zeller’s The Son (Duke of York’s), a transfer from the Kiln in Kilburn, is not a play about mental health and much more a surgical dissection of a family in breakdown, dominated by Nicholas, a wilful teenager hellbent on screwing his life up. Not helped, perhaps, by separated parents, mother Anne and father Pierre. The portrayal of parents as being the source of meltdown is an easy, and lazy ruse and Zeller manages to steer a clever, if precarious, path through those troubled waters of parent-child relationship and blame. To quote one of my siblings “therapy helps”.

Amanda Abbington is excellent as the conflicted Anne, even though she flits in and out of the action. Nicholas lives with her and their relationship oscillates between love and teenage loathing. When he moves in with his father and new partner Sofia, the connection is even more difficult as the boy loses control in every sense and Lizzy Clachan’s clever set soon becomes a psychological war zone. John Lights’ is terrific as Pierre, a man who has little idea of what to do to make “everything right” were that possible. The design is a perfect metaphor for the action as it is used for graffiti madness, deep felt love and warmth and episodes of material destruction.

There are moments, primarily during the heartrending denouement, when the emotional power and inner torment are unrelenting. The play may not say anything new but it shines a light on the fraught and dangerous tightrope that many people walk where falling on the wrong side can result in disaster and in Laurie Kynaston an actor who makes you feel everything that young Nicholas is going through. Sometimes things are not going to be fine.

Meanwhile Sotira Kyriakides loves a bit of “hello sailor” …

Opera Della Luna gave us a wonderfully camp and hysterically caricatured HMS Pinafore (Wilton’s Music Hall). Difficult to fault the ingenious less-is-more adaptability of the stage design that encapsulated a niftiness and joyous breeziness. A great cast and a special mention for their wonderfully mannered and exaggerated delivery and aplomb were Matthew Siveter’s Captain Corcoran (Captain of the HMS Pinafore), and Graeme Henderson as Joseph Porter. The music and choreography excelled and the bombastic and portentous opening and closing drum rolls by Graham Dares, as well as his thundering cymbals, were worth the ticket price alone. The company have had a much lauded 25-year history and now they are appealing for donations to help them continue their work. I would urge you to give whatever you can at

And Marcos Christou, a Prom debutant, wants more…

Prom 57, a morning concert, featured Mozart, Rachmaninov and Qigang Chen whose piece opened proceedings. A modern Chinese composition, at points atonal and dissonant but plenty quirky enough to engage. Fittingly the orchestra for this event was the Shanghai Symphony Orchestraconducted by Long Yu, who played exceptionally well throughout. Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.23 in A is gorgeous and pianist Eric Lu drew out all the lyricism and beauty. In contrast Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances was surprisingly (to me) big and bombastic with an almighty percussive ending. The orchestral encore of Hey Jude was a treat. Na na na na na na…I loved the whole event.

Finally, Eleni Lavarou is awestruck by dance and history…

In 1958 Alvin Aileyformed the American Dance Theater (Sadler’s Wells in order to retain the spirit of the African American experience. Programme A(we will be reviewing B and C too) gave us an eclectic mash-up of West African, jazz and hip hop and some parts hard to describe. The soundtrack included Gospel and Nina Simone. Revelations, choreographed by Ailey, is an incredibly moving piece where several of the dancers get to show us their wonderful talent in movement and expression. My favourite piece was Lazarus, which told a story of slavery that crackled with defiance and included ensemble sections that brought me to tears. Don’t miss this!

Barney Efthimiou


The Son – 0844 871 7623

The Proms –

Alvin Ailey’ – 020 7863 8000

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