Manor is a darkly comic new play by Moira Buffini (The Dig, Handbagged), now playing in the Lyttleton at the National Theatre.
A storm is brewing in rural England and Diana (Nancy Carroll) is struggling to keep the roof on her run-down manor house, which is beginning to take in water. Husband Pete (Owen McDonnell) is no help, drunk and high on magic mushrooms, dancing around the living room without a care in the world. Daughter Isis (Liadán Dunlea) is used to their constant arguing and does all she can to try to ease the situation – by making sandwiches.
As a violent storm sweeps the coast, a group of strangers unexpectedly arrive in search of shelter.
Nurse Ripley (Michele Austin) and her daughter Dora (Shaniqua Okwok) are visiting for the weekend for some much-needed peace and quiet so they can study for exams.
Reverand Fiske (David Hargreaves) arrives with Ted (Shaun Evans), the charismatic leader of a far-right organisation, his sidekick Anton (Peter Bray) and girlfriend Ruth (Amy Forrest), along with Perry (Edward Judge) whose caravan is flooded with all his prized possessions inside.
Stranded together, the explosive mix of people must survive the weather and each other, but the storm outside is nothing compared to what’s brewing inside.
The acting is brilliant across the board, with each group of characters having their own time to shine in the story and nothing feels disjointed or out of place.
Manor is brilliantly written but not easy to watch. It aims to shock with themes of racism, fascism, homicide, fat-shaming and elitism. The storm may have brought these people together but it is not to be blamed for their actions that take place that night.
Global warming isn’t killing the human race – we are all turning on each other and doing that ourselves. It’s about time we stopped blaming others for the state of the world and take some responsibility for the part we play in it.
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Manor Access performances
Audio-described performances, for blind and visually impaired people:
Wednesday 15 December at 7.30pm with a Touch Tour at 6pm
Captioned performances, for deaf or hard-of-hearing people:
Wednesday 8 December at 1.30pm
Relaxed enviroment performances:
Saturday 18 December at 1.30pm
Smart caption glasses
Available for performances from Saturday 27 November.