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The Father

Published 2 March 2016

What’s it all about?

By now you should have an idea about Florian Zeller’s play The Father. This is its third London run in the space of a year, it’s one of the most acclaimed productions of the last 12 months and it picked up three Olivier Award nominations earlier this week.

But if you don’t, this is a mind-tricking, logic-juggling, witty, chilling tale of families and dementia.

Who’s in it?

Critics’ Choice Award winner and Olivier nominee Kenneth Cranham plays the title role with a hold-your-breath brilliance. By giving us glimpses of the spritely, jaunty, entirely lucid Andre, the moments of confusion and embarrassing infantilism are that much more heart-breaking. No wonder it’s one of the most talked about performances of the year.

Opposite Cranham, the exceptional Amanda Drew is the perfect knot of tormented emotions as the daughter watching her father’s regression, struggling as she becomes child and parent, carer, cared for and forgotten.

What should I look out for?

Listen, actually. Christopher Shutt’s sound design, which also picked up an Olivier nomination, punctuates each scene with an incredible musical analogy for dementia.

In a nutshell?

Devastatingly brilliant and brilliantly devastating, dementia drama The Father continues to live up to every ounce of its wild acclaim.

What’s being said on Twitter?

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Will I like it?

This is a tough watch. With its subject matter – to which so many of us can relate – how could it not be? But is it worth toughing it out? Absolutely.

Zeller’s brilliant writing confuses and beguiles us, playing scenes in a way that both befuddles and hits like a professionally wielded baseball bat when the reality becomes clear.

Cranham really does give one of the performances of his career as the degenerating Andre. It is one of those performances that will, perhaps ironically, live long in the memory.

Like it? I don’t know. But you can’t afford to miss it.

The Father plays at the Duke of York’s Theatre until 26 March. You can book tickets through us here.

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