Death of a Hunter at Finborough Theatre
This is clearly a bumper season for the Finborough Theatre, which has managed to follow the accolades earned by White Guy on the Bus with the triumph that is Death of a Hunter. Controversial playwright Rolf Hochhuth’s one-man show is a deeply moving examination of the final thoughts and moments of Ernest Hemingway.
The audience lives through an hour in the iconic author’s haunted mind alongside the intensely sympathetic, flawed writer himself. As he battles his demons and wrestles with his conscience, we see a detailed and complex portrait of a tortured genius. Edmund Dehn is transfixing as Hemingway; he plays him with a great weightiness that leaves the audience hanging on every word. The text requires range to show a man that is as much full of fists and bluster as fear and trepidation, and Dehn succeeds wherever he turns. Whether he faces the audience in desperation or anger, he is a force to be reckoned with. Director Anthony Shrubsall helps to creatively displace celebrated novelist from himself within the small space of the Finborough. Death of a Hunter is as much a blitz through the Hemingway’s life as it is a study of its tragic final act, all this while the theatre’s narrow stage shifts from battlefield to forest, and to the tracks of the writer’s own feverish musings.
It is far from the case that you would need any knowledge of Hemingway himself for this play to strike a chord. It flits through anger, solitude and depression with a great degree of poetry. As the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author finds himself paralysed in the face of his own past successes, what we see is a man in his sunset years mulling over the purpose of his own existence. This is a brooding and moody production with a piercing optic that will have you leaving the Finborough shaken.
Death of a Hunter is at Finborough Theatre from 1st April until 17th April 2018. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here. Watch a clip of actor Edmund Dehn as Hemingway here.