REVIEW: The Country at Arcola Theatre

As the Arcola team embark on the next stage in the theatre’s development this week, new play The Country is showing just why its work should be supported.

As the Arcola team embark on the next stage in the theatre’s development this week, new play The Country is showing just why its work should be supported.

Director Amelia Nicholson’s revival of Martin Crimp’s 2000 psychological thriller is 90 minutes of sharp whit, cutting cynicism and gripping storytelling.

The play follows Richard, a family doctor, and his wife and children as they settle into their new home in the countryside after leaving the city for some peace and quiet.

But when Richard brings home a young woman he finds on a track, his perfect marriage gradually and brutally unravels.


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Crimp’s script is both wickedly real and wildly creative, built upon frustrating, fast dialogue.

And the plot delights and devastates with every twist, as tit bits of truth come out.

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Happily the three cast members deliver both with skill, playing with the characters as the characters play each other.

Simon Thorp is irresistible as the insufferable Richard, while Amanda Root plays his thin-lipped wife Corinne with grace and gusto.

Naomi Wattis is abrasive as the mysterious Rebecca, with an American accent just as annoying as her stomping feet.

As always, the challenging layout of Arcola’s Studio 1 demands imaginative staging. This time, again, it succeeds.

Crimp’s little-performed portrait of people and places rings too true - in The Country, home is not always where the heart is.

The Country by Martin Crimp runs at Arcola Theatre in Arcola Street from September 28 to October 23.

Tickets cost �16 or �10 for concessions.

For more information or to book go to www.arcolatheatre.com or phone the box office on 020 7503 1646.

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