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Previewed 19 February 2004, Opened 3 March 2004, Closed 3 April 2004 at the Duke of York's Theatre in London
A major production of Michael Hastings' play Calico in London starring Imelda Staunton, Dermot Crowley and Romola Garai and directed by Edward Hall.
An unusual love story: 1928... The Paris apartment of James Joyce and his family... A world of secret lives and secret dreams.... A young student named Samuel Beckett arrives and an unusual love begins. Calico is a fictional story inspired by fact. It is a captivating and exuberant play about a family in crisis. Scrupulously researched, Calico mixes sadness and great compassion to explore love almost to the brink of insanity and featuring an original score performed live.
The cast for Calico in London features Imelda Staunton as 'Nora', Joyce's wife, Dermot Crowley as 'James Joyce' and Romola Garai as his daughter 'Lucia' along with Daniel Weyman, Robert Portal, Jamie Beamish and Issy Van Randwyck. It is directed by Edward Hall with designs by Francis O'Connor, lighting by Ben Ormerod, sound by Matt McKenzie and music by Mick Sands. Please Note: This play contains strong language and may not be suitable for children under 14.
"Michael Hastings' play tries to rescue Joyce's daughter from historical oblivion. In this he's hugely helped by Romola Garai, whose brilliant performance as Lucia provides heartbreak as well as some of the funniest filth you'll hear on the London stage. There's good work too from Imelda Staunton as Joyce's wife Nora, a po-faced former Dublin tart. Dermot Crowley plays the old pervert Joyce, and Daniel Weyman is a whippet-thin Beckett. The trouble with Calico is that it doesn't know whether to be an accusatory documentary or a domestic Irish farce. Despite some fine acting, it leaves you blowing hot and cold." The Daily Express
"Michael Hastings takes up the story in Paris in 1928, and concentrates mainly on the plight of Joyce's gifted but unstable daughter Lucia... Hastings' writing is lively enough, but it is also frequently jokey and superficial. Almost everyone - not only Joyce - emerges from the play looking diminished, in the sense that you can't help feeling that in real life they must have been a good deal more formidable. Edward Hall's production is busy and energetic. Much of the time Dermot Crowley as Joyce simply has to stand around looking pained, but he establishes a strong presence none the less. Imelda Staunton gives a feisty performance as his wife, the famous Nora. Romola Garai invests Lucia with a glamour which I'm not sure she had in reality, but fails to convey much of the poignancy which she undoubtedly did." The Sunday Telegraph
"In his new play, Calico, Michael Hastings... speculates on a putative relationship between James Joyce's 21-year-old daughter Lucia and the then penniless tutor Samuel Beckett, who was working as her father's secretary. Going on one of very few facts available - that Lucia spent 45 years in a mental asylum - the play suggests her life was blighted by her dysfunctional family and bizarre upbringing... Ed Hall's elegant, almost over-slick production peddles an unlikely story that adds nothing we can trust to the personalities whose works are so familiar. Indeed, this play diminishes them, which isn't fair, either. Despite a striking stage debut by Romola Garai as the galumphing Lucia in the grip of painful delusions, nothing can disguise the play's fundamental flaw: it is high-class claptrap masquerading as something meaningful. A sad and frustrating waste of time for all the talented people involved." The Mail on Sunday
Calico in London at the Duke of York's Theatre previewed from 19 February 2004, opened on 3 March 2004 and closed on 3 April 2004.