Janie and I both carry fond memories of this play/production, although it was a long play and is the sort of play that we sometimes dislike.
Howard Brenton has a tendency either to pull off this type of history/personality play with aplomb (as he did with this one and the Ai Wei Wei one) or leave us stone cold, as he did with his play about drawing lines across India at the time of Independence.
Jeremy Irons isn’t my favourite; he’s always sort-of Jeremy Irons. But Jeremy Irons is sort-of Harold Macmillan, so that aspect worked.
One element of the play that I recall really working for me was the notion of the young Harold, played by Pip Carter, moving the narrative on, even in the later years when Harold was becoming an old duffer.
There’s a decent Wikipedia entry for this play – here – which also provides the links to the main theatre reviews (saving me the trouble), which were very favourable on the whole.
Having said that, Wikipedia’s critics list is short and perhaps selective:
- Philip Fisher in British Theatre Guide was less sure;
- but then again, Sarah Hemming in the FT loved it.
Official London Theatre kindly archived its synopsis and list of cast and creatives, saving me a lot of typing. Thanks for nothing, RNT, which, with all its funding, provides far less past production archive than most half-decent fringe theatres.