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Opened 14 November 2006, closed 17 February 2007 at the Garrick Theatre in London
A major revival of David Hare's play Amy's View directed by Peter Hall and starring Felicity Kendal, Jenna Russell and Gawn Grainger.
It is 1979 and Esme Allen has it all. A successful actress, she is at the pinnacle of her career and passionate about the West End stage where she earns a comfortable living. But then a visit from her daughter, Amy, with her new boyfriend, a brash young gossip-columnist and film critic, sets in motion a series of events which reach their shattering conclusion sixteen years later.
"An absorbing, funny and touching revival by Peter Hall" The Independent
This blistering journey through family relationships, the changing face of Britain and popular culture sees one of our most compelling writers at the height of his powers. Amy's View is an enthralling, stimulating and witty drama about the power of love and loss. It was originally a triumphant success at the National Theatre in 1997 and transferred to the West End and then Broadway.
"Felicity Kendal is sensational" The London Evening Standard
The cast for this revival of Amy's View in London features Felicity Kendal as 'Esme' and Jenna Russell as her daughter 'Amy' along with Gawn Grainger, Ryan Kiggell, Antonia Pemberton and Geoff Breton.
"Expertly directed by Peter Hall" The Guardian
"When Amy's View opened nearly a decade ago, I called it a bad Hare day salvaged by the incomparable Judi Dench, who made it a richer piece than it deserved. Time and some rewriting, alas, haven't done much to improve it but, once again, the leading lady is the best thing about it... It's a play with holes which nevertheless proves a road-worthy vehicle for Felicity Kendal's talents." The Mail on Sunday
Felicity Kendal - "A superb star performance" The Daily Telegraph
David Hare's play, Amy's View - revived by Peter Hall - spans Thatcher's regime and the early nineties... The play's setting feels old-fashioned, but the fierce cultural row between Esme and Dominic has actually gained more relevance, with the remorseless dumbing-down of British culture. This is also the performance of a lifetime by Felicity Kendal, plumbing startling depths of grief in her terminal quarrel with Jenna Russell's fraught Amy." The Independent on Sunday
"Among the most deeply affecting plays to have been written by anyone in the past ten years" The Financial Times
"Despite an impressive Felicity Kendal and a distinguished Gawn Grainger, the play depends too much on a sentimental opposition between a shallow bloke (telly-making, wife-dumping, jargon-using, theatre-hating) and two life-enhancing women who stick up for compassion and the artistic spirit. It's a play which shows how anti-feminist is the idea of a female principle - and makes you hanker for the less kind, more cross Hare." The Observer
"Plenty of levity... a very satisfying night out" The Daily Mail
"Peter Hall's revival of David Hare's Amy's View is like a rebirth; it's like meeting a brilliant, angry adolescent a decade later and seeing that he's found himself. At its heart is a performance of blazing, regal vulnerability by Felicity Kendal as Esme... Jenna Russell is a fine, tense, embattled Amy, and Gawn Grainger creates one of those unsparing, carefully crafted psychological portraits of which he is such a master." The Sunday Times
David Hare on the play: "Amy's View starts in a widow's sitting-room which is casually littered with the work of a dead artist, Bernard Thomas. It is Thomas's spirit which then presides over the whole play. The story that follows, about the relationship between a leading West End actress, Esme Allen, and her loving daughter, Amy, is played out over a sixteen-year period, starting in 1979. It describes an era in which it becomes more and more difficult for an actress to make a living in the theatre alone. But, throughout, it is the memory of her dead husband which provides Esme with the lasting principles of her life. In writing a play which is, at the last, a testimony to art's dignifying importance in the life, at least, of one individual, I am pleased that so many people have spotted the fact that the play aims to use all the armoury of theatre to defend theatre itself. Since the play opened at the National Theatre in 1997, I have also been amused and sometimes taken aback by the sheer variety of people's responses to it... To some people who write to me, Amy's View is, primarily, a family play, the study of a relationship between a mother and daughter. To others, it is a tragedy, centred round the deeply mysterious question of why we can never make amends with people we need to, but instead always choose disastrously to put reconciliation off to another day. To others again, it is seen primarily as an attack on a generation which regards art itself as old-fashioned and elitist. To a last, substantial group, Amy's View has appeared principally as a political play, showing how the spoilt British characteristically dream their way through their lives, hopelessly trusting to their own superiority, and never really bothering to come to terms with a reality which has changed beyond recognition. I hope it will ruin nobody's fun to say I recognize all these interpretations, and intend at least three-quarters of them. But beyond all of them, my purpose in writing Amy's View was to do something blindingly simple, and yet still distressingly rare: to put modern women's lives on the stage in a way which I hope women might recognize."