Review: His Greatness, Finborough Theatre

“I don’t write about life”

A programme note informs us that His Greatness is not a play about Tennessee Williams. Instead, Canadian writer Daniel MacIvor has chosen to write a tale inspired by him, based on ‘a potentially true story’ from the twilight of his career. In a hotel room in Vancouver, ‘the playwright’ (never named…) is still clinging onto the lustre of his former glories and desperate to recapture the dream with his latest premiere. But even his ever loyal assistant is beginning to flag and the arrival of a rent boy into the claustrophobic hotel room over a trying 24 hour period forces a reassessment on the part of all three men.

Jean-Marc Puissant’s traverse design does an excellent job of transforming the Finborough’s space into a slightly drab hotel room, double bed at one end and desk at the other, from where bon mots are bounced and verbal volleys are launched, languid seductions attempted and frustrated dreams ground down to dust. MacIvor’s writing is sharp and funny as the three men play the power games they can to come out on top but as the play progresses, the tone becomes more reflective, increasingly bitter as the realities of chasing fading stars become painfully apparent. Walker’s intense production manages this inexorable shift extremely well, mainly thanks to an outstanding cast. Continue reading “Review: His Greatness, Finborough Theatre”