The Herd**** (Bush Theatre, 8 October 2013)

Posted: October 8, 2013 in Theatre

Not content with just being one of the finest stage actors of his generation, Rory Kinnear now  makes an outstanding debut as a playwright. He has constructed a heart-warming comedy on the foundations of a heart-rending drama, dealing with the strains put on a family when one of its members is severely disabled. The family is gathered to celebrate the 21st Birthday of Andy, never seen but ever-present, who suffers from an unspecified disorder that is described as “much worse than Downs Syndrome”. The production is very strongly cast with Amanda Root and Louise Brealey superb as Andy’s brittle and bruised mother and sister. Kenneth Cranham and Anna Calder-Marshall contribute splendid comedy turns as his grandparents. Unusually for a fringe production, the performance area is much too expansive, it taking eight large rugs to cover the floor of the living room set; much of the space is never used and the actors sometimes look lost in it. However, this is a very minor criticism. Kinnear’s play is beautifully written and performed, making for a highly entertaining evening.

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