Theatre Review - Lyonesse

PENELOPE Skinner’s meandering plot weakens what could have been a profound meditation on women continuing to be domineered by men post #MeToo.

Kate (Lily James), a young film executive, is commissioned to interview Elaine (Kristin Scott Thomas) a reclusive former actress living in a remote part of Cornwall.

Elaine inexplicably fled a promising career 30 years earlier. She claims it was because of her abusive partner, a film director, who left her no option but to disappear for her own safety. Now he has died Elaine feels ready to tell her story and make a comeback.

Kate has her own marital problems. Her controlling husband Greg (James Corrigan), also a film director, is keen to have another baby. Kate wants to pursue her career.

Elaine and Kate begin work on a film treatment, only to find their narrative questioned and undermined.

While Scott Thomas gives a characteristically winning performance, James lacks nuance. Elaine’s neighbour and friend, Chris (Sara Powell), bring a welcome slice of realism, but Lyonesse’s lack of focus works against it; playing too hard for laughs it fails to coalesce into anything meaningful.

On the night I went, Ian Rickson’s uneven production was further let down by the understudy playing Kate’s boss reading her lines.

Until December 23

Originally published by Westminster Extra