A hilarious and psychological stage adaptation by Tim Price brings the Alps to the Donmar Warehouse. A seemingly happy family of four are getting away for some quality time on a skiing trip, but the cracks are already showing and one controlled avalanche away from breaking away altogether.
The play is thoroughly entertaining, and the writing really clever. This is a story which at first is unassuming, perhaps even, uninteresting, but soon you are captivated because it never goes how you expect it to and it’s difficult to pick sides. The play challenges traditional ideas of gender expectations, heroes, and nuclear family roles. It exposes the cost of judgement, miscommunication and keeping up appearances. It explores what it is to be human, to understand, forgive, and love. It is heart wrenching and warming at the same time.
Performances are precise and consistently high-quality.The two leads are casted perfectly. Lyndsey Marshal plays Ebba, the heroine and overworked mother. She conveys Ebba as a loving wife and mother who is formidable, strong, and kind, but also impatient and a bit of a pushover. Her fantastic sighs of exasperation and looks of utter disgust and disappointment are exquisite acting moments delivered with sensitivity and perfect comic timing. Rory Kinnear plays her inadequate husband Tomas. Kinnear and Marshal are a treat to watch. Kinnear’s long silences and blank and helpless expressions paired with Marshal’s fiery wit and charm sets up the scene perfectly and provides many beautiful moments of theatre.
The movement sequences and staging are fun – bordering on gimmicky, but I believe they pull it off. The upbeat music keeps the drama light and digestible. The whole stage is slanted adding massive dynamism to the play as the actors and set balance precariously in parallel to the drama unfolding on stage, a family on thin ice, hanging by a thread. The elevator is fun to watch with the strip of light and as a way to transition between scenes. Some of the biggest laughs from the audience are a response to the poor cleaner who finds himself interrupting a fair share of domestics aided by the staging as he brings the resort hallway to life. The ensemble as a whole works beautifully to enrich the play and bring issues into perspective. All in all, a wonderful night at the Donmar which guarantees conversations continue to the bar. What would you do in a moment of crisis? Can you ever know? Can you ever judge?
Review written by Tasnim Siddiqa Amin.
Force Majeure i currently showing until Saturday 5th February 2022 at the Donmar Warehouse. To find out more about the production, visit here…
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