Stephen Beresford’s The Last of The Haussmans at The National’s Lyttelton TheatreCultureTheatre
Stephen Beresford debuts his writing, which anyone would agree is a feat in itself. A fitting piece to follow the likes of Love, Love, Love by Mike Bartlett at The Royal Court, it addresses the hippy culture of the 60s and 70s and how it has affected the lives of the generation to follow.
“The only thing to be in life is a rebel.”
Julie Walters eccentrically embodies Judy Haussman’s freeness and sense of play entirely, and owns the magically designed stage. Vicki Mortimer has perfectly captured the essence of home and slightly organised chaos and calamity. The torn bunting and the flickering string of coloured lightbulbs symbolises perfectly what havoc the sexual revolution created, but also the beauty of its plight for free expression. It’s a real spectacle.
The sexual tension between the entire cast is credible: perfectly timed and naturally eye-catching, which is a nod to Howard Davies who, as one of the National’s stalwarts, has created a strong, artistically joyous ensemble.
The chemistry between mother and children – Walters, Helen McCrory (Libby) and Rory Kinnear (Nick) – is delightful and the balance created between the comedic one-liners and sombre, dutiful monologues are pretty much bang on. McCrory’s struggle between her sexually confident upbringing and moral obligations to her daughter are delivered powerfully after her one-off embrace with their neighbour, teenager and pool boy, Daniel (Taron Egerton). The raspy, smoky voice quality McCrory possesses is so rough and ready, it’s addictive to listen to.
The cast drove the piece fluidly, and I hope it continues to do so with non-complacency to ensure a fantastic run.
To book for The Last of The Haussmans at The National Theatre click here.