Sunday 17 August 2008


To see Michael Frayn's Afterlife at the Lyttleton Theatre yesterday afternoon. A full house for the play that has been panned by some critics was testimony to the quality of the production, marked by fine acting and magnificent sets. The story of Max Reinhardt, a great Austrian Jewish impresario who started the Salzburg tradition of staging the play Everyman, and had created some large German theatres in the early 20th century, is fascinating in its own right; with the rise of the Nazis, he found himself exiled virtually penniless to a United States that held little appetite for his talents. This, the third in Frayn's trilogy that included the fine Copenhagen and award-winning Democracy, is perhaps less profound than its author would wish us to believe; Reinhardt as Everyman strains credulity. But taken as a biographical tale of a great man it works, with much of the credit due to Roger Allam as Reinhardt.

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