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Linda

Published 2 December 2015

What’s it all about?

Linda’s 55. She’s a successful businesswoman. She has the stunning house and the 2.4 children. But her next venture, a new campaign pitch for the cosmetics company she has helped make stratospheric, aimed at empowering older women, is about to bring everything crashing down spectacularly.

Who’s in it?

It was going to be Kim Cattrall, as you might know. But when the Sex And The City star pulled out on doctor’s orders, Noma Dumezweni stepped in. Her performance is astonishing, even without the consideration that it has been constructed in just 10 days.

On press night the Olivier Award winner still – seamlessly – referred to the script. When she’s totally up and running her evocation of a woman for whom positivity, fight and goodness have been everything, who finds she still can’t battle youth or money-lust and flounders at the realisation, must make it into the awards shakedown.

What should I look out for?

Speaking of awards, Es Devlin’s name must be mentioned by committees and judges again this year following her creation for Linda. A multi-storey creation, part bright white home, part clinical cosmetics department, part twisting Escher creation, set within an onstage lake, is unforgettable and a character in itself.

And as unforgettable goes, the production’s tempestuous climax and the sucker punch that follows will remain burned into my retinas and my mind. Stunning.

In a nutshell?

Alert the awards’ judges, Michael Longhurst’s production of Penelope Skinner’s new play about modern womanhood is glorious, devastating drama of the finest order.

What’s being said on Twitter?

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Will I like it?

This is one that people will be talking about for the rest of the year. Scrap that, decade. While the male characters may edge towards cliché – the man-child husband, the patronising boss – and that’s not to say those clichés don’t actually exist, this is a Lear-esque exploration of modern womanhood… except for Linda, her ‘usefulness’ is over at 55, not in her 80s. There’s more here about power, aspiration, opportunities, even theatre. “I used to be the protagonist of my life and now suddenly I’m starting to feel irrelevant,” Linda says in the opening scene. What follows is the most tragic, enthralling, overwhelming and entertaining descent into, and battle against, that irrelevance.

Linda plays at the Royal Court until 9 January. You can book tickets through the theatre’s website. 

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