The Inheritance (Young Vic)

I watch quite a lot of theatre, but I give very few strong vociferous recommendations.

When I saw Billie Piper’s Yerma at The Young Vic last year I waxed lyrical. I called all my friends, sent an ‘all-company’ email and even stopped people in the street and insisted they beg, borrow or steal a ticket.

This time my recommendation requires you to buy two tickets however – but The Inheritance – again at The Young Vic – is worth every penny and definitely every delicious second of its 7 hours spread across two nights.

Angels in America meets E.M. Forster is how it’s been described but I think the Kushner comparisons do The Inheritance no favours. I enjoyed AIA a lot, I will have written about how much I enjoyed it undoubtedly, but for me Matthew Lopez’s masterpiece, and I I’ve been sitting here trying to think of a word more fitting of it, without success, skips lightly on the balls of its feet, whilst Kushner’s play occasionally plods heavily like someone its age might be expected to.

There is a lightness about The inheritance that feels like it would have been written with the pen barely touching the page, dancing and pirouetting trailing ribbon themes of love and loss and jealousy and anger and prejudice and humanity. Dealing with a New York gay landscape a generation after AIDS with its legacy still writ large on the skyline, the comparisons with Angels in America are inevitable, it’s a huge 7 hour, two part play that repays the audience for their sizeable commitment.

But all of the scripts deftness and nuance would be for nothing without a cast wiling and able to match it. Director Stephen Daldry has put together such a potent and playful ensemble of young Anglo-American talent that young cant help but look forward to powerhouse performances from these men in London and on Broadway for decades to come. Kyle Soller who plays Eric Glass, one of several lynchpins in the play before becoming possible the lynchpinniest of them all, is astounding. It’s a performance careers are built on, and every minute in his understated, open, and painfully honest company is one to savour. Samuel H Levine shows lovely versatility playing Leo and Adam with arresting panache and truth, and Paul Hilton as Walter and at times the ghost of E.M. Forster himself deserves every superlative that will be undoubtedly thrown his way.

And we’ve not yet even mentioned Vanessa Redgrave whose appearance towards the end of the play is worth the admission price alone.

There are still tickets for this which runs until mid May – but there wont be for long.

Please, please, please go.

5 Stars



Dominic Cavendish in the Telegraph has more eloquently taken the words out of my mouth – “To watch The Inheritance is to pass from engaged but detached interest into a realm of total absorption before arriving at a state of emotionally shattered but elated awe.”

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