Other Desert Cities

2402The Old Vic Theatre’s latest offering is the European Premiere of Jon Robin Baitz Other Desert Cities (one of Americas most performed plays of recent days). The Old Vic Theatre has been transformed for this production so that it can be played in the round. Seats surround the stage giving a much more intimate feel to this gripping family drama, where we see catastrophe unfold for one family on christmas eve.

Brooke Wyeth (played by Martha Plimpton) arrives at the family home, armed with a freshly printed manuscript of her new book. When her high profile parents (Sinead Cusack and Peter Egan) discover the book is a memoir of their families lesser known life, havoc breaks out. Recovering alcoholic Auntie Silda (Clare Higgins) helps make things worse by getting involved and brother Trip (Daniel Lapaine) just wants a quiet and peaceful christmas.

Other Desert Cities is a flawless production that had me on the end of my seat the entire time. I was so taken with the characters, I started to feel annoyed during act 1 and wanted to step onto the stage and slap Polly Wyeth around the face and tell her to read the book before passing judgement! Simple, elegant, powerful and brilliantly acted, the performance shows that you should never judge a book by its cover.

Before the show, I attended a special discussion in the theatre with Company Stage Manager Graham Michael who discussed the play in front of a small audience with Clare Higgins and Susie Riddell (understudy to Brooke Wyeth). It was fascinating to hear about how the show had been created, down to the small detail of the work that went in to creating props. These events that are put on are a wonderful way to find out about the creative process and find out more about a show and the actors involved.

After this incredible day at the Old Vic (which also include a backstage history tour of the building) I couldn’t wait to kick back and relax at the gorgeous luxury Rosewood Hotel in Holborn.  A heritage hotel, just around the corner from Covent Garden, this is an Edwardian oasis of tranquility! I would definitely recommend it if you want to indulge yourself for an evening of bliss. www.rosewoodhotels.com

Reviewed by West End Wilma


Other Desert Cities plays at the Old Vic Theatre until 24 May 2014. Click here for tickets.