Tag Archives: david hare

WHAT’S ON MARCH: Political Drama Absence of War at the Citz

Headlong, Sheffield Theatres and Rose Theatre Kingston bring their new production of David Hare’s The Absence of War, directed by Headlong Artistic Director Jeremy Herrin, to the Citizens Theatre from 31 March – 4 April. This new staging of Hare’s funny, stinging political drama focusing on the fortunes of the Labour Party arrives at the Citizens Theatre in the build up to the 2015 general election.

It’s now or never for George Jones. The heavy-smoking, Shakespeare-loving Labour leader needs to get out of opposition and into Number Ten. Plagued by a hostile media, beset by divisions in his party and haunted by his own demons, George has three weeks to convince the Great British Public that he’s their man. But how much compromise is he prepared to make? How can you truly appeal to the man in the street from the Palace of Westminster? And which tie should he wear for Prime Minister’s Questions?

The cast is led by Reece Dinsdale as George Jones, whose film appearances include Guildenstern in Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet. His TV appearances include Joe McIntyre in Coronation Street and guest roles in Spooks, Life on Mars, Silent Witness and Waterloo Road amongst others.

Also in the cast is Gorbals-born young actor James Harkness. James is returning to the Citizens Theatre having been a member of the Citizens Young Co. from 2007 – 2009. James performed with Citizens Young Co. as part of the Theatre of Debate season at National Theatre’s New Connections Festival in 2008.  It was during this performance that James was spotted by Anthony Banks, Associate Director NT Learning who offered to mentor James in his preparation for his auditions for drama school. Through this connection with the National Theatre, an anonymous donor came forward and offered to support James financially throughout the duration of his training.   

David Hare is one of the UK’s foremost playwrights and screenwriters. His plays include Plenty, Skylight, The Permanent Way and Stuff Happens. He has received two Academy Award nominations for his screenplays for The Hours and The Reader.  The production marks the third collaboration between Hare and Headlong’s Artistic Director Jeremy Herrin, winner of the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Director for Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies, and director of the company’s most recent transfer to London’s West End, The Nether.  

Headlong is a regular visitor to the Gorbals theatre, most recently bringing its West End smash-hit version of George Orwell’s 1984 to Glasgow audiences. Previous productions at the Citizens Theatre include Chekov’s The Seagull, Medea, Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The Absence of War opened in Sheffield on Friday 6 February and tours to Norwich, Watford, Bristol, Cheltenham, Liverpool, before arriving at the Citizens Theatre. The Absence of War also tours to Oxford, Kingston, Cambridge and ends at Theatre Royal Bath on 9 May.

Tickets: £8.50 – £20.50 (concessions available)
Box Office
0141 429 0022 / citz.co.uk
119 Gorbals Street, Glasgow, G5 9DS. Open Mon – Sat 10am – 6pm

REVIEW: Skylight – Wyndhams Theatre, London

David Hare’s 1995, award-winning play is a perfectly choreographed emotional dance sublimely performed by two of the country’s most gifted actors.

Him, Tom (Bill Nighy) a rich, successful restaurateur, her, Kyra (Carey Mulligan) his former employee now a teacher in a difficult East End school. Two people with a shared history, lovers for six years until his wife discovers their affair they meet in her grim, arctic cold,  council flat a year on from his wife’s death. Still wracked with guilt and grief and seeking closure and comfort, so begins a subtle dance of opposing ideals and emotional attachment as the flames of their relationship flare up and burn out only to be re-ignited and extinguished again.


Each is a powerful stage presence in different ways: him, stalking panther-like and proprietorially around her grim council flat. Twitchy, edgy, flying off at tangents, veering wildly from one remembrance to another, one argument to the next. Her, still, contained and controlled.

This is a timely revival, Hare’s work, written in the 90’s is as resonant today as it was then. In these times of inequality Kyra’s speech against “right-wing fuckers” in support of social workers is met with rousing applause.

Special mention must go to Bob Crowley’s set design which is instrumental in setting the atmosphere. The grotty flat set against the backdrop of a high-rise council block, where windows illuminate and dim to shows signs of life and Paul Arditti’s sound design of crying babies, birdsong and car engines firing up are evocative.

This is a work of exquisite quality – a real gem.

Image: John Haynes