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Previewed 16 September 2004, Opened 28 September 2004, closed 11 December 2004 at the Old Vic Theatre in London
The British premiere of Maria Goos' play Cloaca in London directed by Kevin Spacey.
Trapped in a dreary civil-service job for the last twenty-two years, Pieter finds solace in his treasured collection of paintings. Then one night an unexpected phone call threatens him with its loss, As his world turns upside down, he pins his hopes on three lifelong friends to come to, his help. There's Joep, the permanently ambitious politician, waiting for the call to ministerial office as his marriage goes into freefall. There's Tom, the one-time lawyer, his career damaged by a roller-coaster journey through drugs, self-harm and mental breakdown. And there's Maarten, an avant-garde theatre director whose plays don't have quite the same flavour as they used to in his youth. Four friends from their student days, reunited in middle age, their lives finely balanced between hope and disillusion.
Dutch writer Maria Goos' acclaimed play Cloaca is a dark and powerful take on the joys and woes of male friendship. It is also a seriously funny piece of theatre, examining how men ruin their emotional lives in the constant quest for money, power and reputation.
The cast for Cloaca in London features Neil Pearson as 'Maarten', Stephen Tompkinson as 'Pieter', Hugh Bonneville as 'Jan', Adrian Lukis as 'Tom' and Ingeborga Dapkunaite. The production is directed by Kevin Spacey with designs by Robert Jones, lighting by Mark Henderson and sound by Jeremy Whelehan.
"Dutch writer Maria Goos may not hit all the right buttons with a story of disappointment and broken dreams but Kevin Spacey's skilled direction has drawn fantastic performances from a top-notch cast. The result is an absorbing - and at times wonderfully funny - evening as classy as any in the West End right now. Big TV names Stephen Tompkinson and Neil Pearson play two of four friends reunited when Tompkinson's character gets in trouble over valuable paintings. But they by no means outshine their lesser-known co-stars. Hugh Bonneville has the best comic lines as Jan, an ambitious politician whose marriage is on the blink and has left a home he describes as a tip... And Adrian Lukis is amusing and touching as Tom, the one-time hotshot lawyer who has suffered a breakdown that found him wandering Barcelona in his underpants... Cloaca is a treat." The Sun
"Pieter is a gay local government flunky in whose flash flat the action unfolds... The rest of the gang are old college friends. Jan is an opportunist politician fed up with his marriage, Tom a coke-addled manic-depressive, and Maarten a sleazy, pretentious theatre director. They bicker and chat, swim in self-pity and divulge ooh-er secrets like sitcom characters in search of a punchline, or teenage girls having a slumber party. They certainly don't seem like grown men, and the complexities that Maria Goos foists upon them feel like implausibilites... Speaking of Goos, she does explain in the programme why this is called Cloaca - it' 'a metaphor for all the shit that's going through the play. The play is like a gutter.' It needs unblocking." The Sunday Telegraph
"[Kevin Spacey] has chosen not to act but to make his directorial debut with a dismally over-contrived comedy by an unknown playwright apparently acclaimed in her native Holland. It's about men behaving badly, sadly and madly. Four old friends from student days meet up in a swanky loft apartment for a mutual midlife crisis... Needless to say, all their relationships are cliched; even the most superficial TV sitcom digs deeper. The cast are familiar faces and talented actors. But try as they might, they look vaguely uneasy and embarrassed... Something has clearly been lost in translation, and that includes good writing." The Mail on Sunday
Cloaca in London at the Old Vic Theatre previewed from 16 September 2004, opened on 28 September 2004, closed on 11 December 2004.