wed 22/05/2024

Chicken Soup With Barley, Royal Court Theatre | reviews, news & interviews

Chicken Soup With Barley, Royal Court Theatre

Chicken Soup With Barley, Royal Court Theatre

Arnold Wesker triumphantly reclaimed at the playhouse of his roots

Care in the community: Danny Webb and Samantha Spiro play husband and wifeJohan Persson

"Love comes now. You have to start with love," urges Sarah Kahn (Samantha Spiro) early in Chicken Soup With Barley, and it's inconceivable that Dominic Cooke's knockout production of Arnold Wesker's 1958 play could have sprung from any other starting point. There's talk later in Wesker's three acts (taken here with only one interval) of seeing people in the round, which is exactly what the writing, not to mention Cooke's superlative ensemble, manages to do: the political and the personal conjoined in a compassion that one might describe as clear-eyed if only it didn't prompt from an audience such honestly earned tears.

"Love comes now. You have to start with love," urges Sarah Kahn (Samantha Spiro) early in Chicken Soup With Barley, and it's inconceivable that Dominic Cooke's knockout production of Arnold Wesker's 1958 play could have sprung from any other starting point. There's talk later in Wesker's three acts (taken here with only one interval) of seeing people in the round, which is exactly what the writing, not to mention Cooke's superlative ensemble, manages to do: the political and the personal conjoined in a compassion that one might describe as clear-eyed if only it didn't prompt from an audience such honestly earned tears.

Wesker's craft is of a piece with a theatre season in which the pleasures of the well-made play are reasserting themselves

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