Review: Faith, Hope and Charity, National Theatre

A blistering indictment of austerity and what it has done to all of us, Faith, Hope and Charity is unmissable at the National Theatre

“When we’re hungry, we go to sleep”

A time when the much-abused sobriquet state-of-the-nation is actually entirely appropriate, Alexander Zeldin completes his excoriating triptych of plays about modern Britain with Faith, Hope and Charity. Beyond Caring looked at zero hour contracts and Love homeless hostels, Zeldin now turns his focus onto community centres and their role in holding society together.

As before, there’s little that is inherently ‘dramatic’ in Zeldin’s play, rather scenes are episodic and lean heavily into naturalism – silences as tables are put off, dialogue that interrupts and tails off but rather than feeling empty or clumsy, the cumulative effect is one of deep rumination. And such is Zeldin’s skill, you can’t help but ponder the state of the nation from the seemingly smallest of incidental details as presented here.

It helps to have as excellent a cast as here. Cecilia Noble triumphs once again in the Dorfman as the maternal Hazel, Nick Holder impresses as choir-leader Mason, Susan Lynch’s Beth in all her desperation. Their interactions are based on the small acts of kindness which prove so vital in nurturing even the smallest flame of hope, in the face of a government that has shown time and time again that it just doesn’t care.

Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes (with interval)
Photos: Sarah Lee
Faith, Hope and Charity is booking at the National Theatre until 12th October

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