Richard Eyre and Nicholas Wright's 'The Reporter', with Ben Chaplin
Trevor Nunn's creaking production of Royal Hunt of the Sun at the National Theatre last year made me start my theatrical avoidance list. His acclaimed Hamlet at the Old Vic made me ache with tedium. His name's on so many of the productions that bored me witless. Now he's stultifying the world with the Seagull and King Lear at Stratford. The good news is that Derek Jacobi is lined up for a Lear at the Donmar in a year or two. The delay was due to waiting for the sheen of Ian McKellen's current Lear to have worn off. Thanks to Nunn, a week or two should do it.
As a balance, I'll take Richard Eyre as a director I should automatically see productions of. I grew up during his thrilling era at the Nottingham Playhouse in the 1970s, revving up there every Saturday on my moped. Last night saw me at his production of Nicholas Wright's The Reporter, at the National Theatre's Cottesloe.
Technically highly adroit, it's a rare play that truly captures a life ... the TV reporter James Mossman. Ben Chaplin's portrayal was extraordinarily good ... obvious from the first expansive swing of his besuited arm that wasn't actually expansive, held short by constraint. Like Turing, it's a tale of a life pinched short by society's constraints on homosexuality. Rich throughout ... with a lovely depiction of the novelist Rosamond Lehmann (Angela Thorne). At the Playhouse Richard Eyre brought me premieres of Howard Brenton, Trevor Griffiths (The Comedians with Jonathan Pryce the best first night of my life) and David Hare. Full applause for him for streamlining yet another ultra-fine, if deeply saddening, piece of contemporary theatre.