Review: God of Carnage, Theatre Royal Bath

Too short a run and too short a play? I just about make it to God of Carnage at the Theatre Royal Bath

“Are we ever interested in anything but ourselves?” 

A criminally short run for Theatre Royal Bath’s production of God of Carnage, especially since it has er’ from Downton and ‘im from The Royle Family and ‘her from Sherlock and *swoon* Nigel Lindsay in it. I was barely able to fit it into the diary but a sweeping trip to the West Country at the weekend meant I got in just before the final show.

Yasmine Reza’s ferociously savage take on middle class mores was seen in the West End a decade ago and appears to have lost none of its bite. As two well-to-do families come together to discuss a playground incident between their children, the thin veneer of respectability as they tiptoe around the delicacy of the situation is soon ripped away and a real ugliness revealed.

The cast of Lindsay Posner’s production may have visibility but there’s nowhere to hide here, and nor do they need to as they each delve deep into the drinks cabinet and come up increasingly short in the integrity stakes. As the balance in the argument shift, so too do the alliances, husband against wife, three against one, childishness abides.

But entertaining as it is, and Lindsay’s rough-edged salesman and McGovern’s hypocritical liberal mamma bear really are excellent, Reza’s play doesn’t quite carry the heft it needs to. It is too short, meaning the headlong rush into drunkenness doesn’t convince, nor do we really move beyond the superficial in dealing with its issues – you end up believing less and less that these couples would have stayed together long enough to produce Ferdinands and Brunos. That said, there’s much satisfaction in seeing them get to that place. 

Running time: 80 minutes (without interval)
Photos: Nobby Clarke
God of Carnage is booking at Theatre Royal Bath until 15th September

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