Richard Greenberg’s 2002 play The Dazzle is rather astonishing. Set in the early years of the 20th century, the lives of the Collyer brothers (pianist Langley and lawyer Homer) have been deftly reimagined by Greenberg as he depicts their spiralling descent from a charmed, if rather eccentric life, into one characterised by poverty and despair. Surrounded by the clutter of years of hoarding, the brothers, along with socialite Milly, meet their inevitable, and existential, fate.
The play itself is captivating; beautifully written passages pull the audience towards the security offered by the hopes and dreams of the protagonists, before reality rudely elbows its way to the forefront again. Greenberg is a master of dialogue, with slightly off-kilter responses and quick-witted repartee punctuating the action and leaving the audience hanging onto every word. This co-production between the Michael Grandage Company and Emily Dobbs Productions at the very new, very trendy art deco venue, Found111 on Charing Cross Road, reveres Greenberg’s original text, whilst adding sparkle with deft direction from Simon Evans, and a star cast comprised of Andrew Scott, David Dawson and Joanna Vanderham.
The acting is – it perhaps goes without saying – phenomenal across the board. Scott’s portrayal of Langley – the concert pianist and musical genius obsessed with the minutiae of the moment – is so very detailed, capturing his evident struggle to function within the strict social rules of the day. His brother Homer is wonderfully portrayed by David Dawson, who quietly seethes with resentment and love for an inept brother that requires long-term care and sacrifice. Then there is the socialite Milly, whose fall from grace as the play progresses is given a chilling edge by the hauntingly beautiful Joanna Vanderham.
As the clutter and debris mounts throughout the play, the lights dim and the haze rises (the set is just incredible – designer Ben Stones is a name to watch), the humourous Withnail & I vibe that permeates the play then gives way to a more sombre, existential Waiting For Godot tone. Dark and captivating, The Dazzle is essentially a love story; a homage, if you like, to fraternal love. This is London theatre at its finest.
Review by Amy Stow
“My brother makes an epic of a molecule — what would he do with the world?”
The UK premiere of Tony Award winner Richard Greenberg’s thrilling and fascinating play, The Dazzle, is brought to life in the anarchic space of the former Central St Martins at 111 Charing Cross Road and stars Andrew Scott (Spectre, Sherlock), David Dawson (Ripper Street, Posh) and Joanna Vanderham (The Go-Between, What Maisie Knew).
New York City. The beginning of the 20th Century. Two brothers sit in their home surrounded by 136 tons of hoarded junk. When a beautiful guest arrives, everybody’s lives are thrown into sharp focus.
Found 111 is a temporary space at 111 Charing Cross Road, the original site of the Central St Martins School of Art. For decades, it has been a hub of creativity and the springboard for some of the most seminal artists of our contemporary cultural landscape.
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Age Restrictions: Suitable for ages 12+ (Contains brief partial nudity)
Booking From: 10th December 2015
Booking Until: 30th January 2016
Important Information: PLEASE NOTE – All tickets will be ‘Collect from Box Office’ only. Found 111 is a temporary space at 111 Charing Cross Road, the original site of the Central St Martins School of Art. For decades, it has been a hub of creativity and the springboard for some of the most seminal artists of our contemporary cultural landscape.
111 Charing Cross Rd, London, WC2H 0DT