Six Degrees of Separation

This show has now closed, click here for a listing of current and future London shows

Previewed 7 January 2010, Opened 19 January 2010, Closed 3 April 2010 at the Old Vic Theatre in London.

A major revival of John Guare's play Six Degrees of Separation in London directed by David Grindley.

When Ouisa and Flan Kittredge let an injured young man into their home in the middle of the night, they open the door on a new and enticing world. But is it really what it seems? John Guare's witty play scratches beneath the surface of a world obsessed with money and fame - how can anyone be sure that people are who they say they are? Inspired by the real life story of a flamboyant con artist who convinced wealthy residents in Manhattan that he was the son of actor Sidney Poitier, the play is a captivating study of society's pretensions exposed by one man's self-confidence and imagination.

The cast for Six Degrees of Separation in London features Obi Abili as 'Paul', Anthony Head as 'Ouisa Kittredge' and Lesley Manville as 'Flan Kittredge' along with Zoe Boyle, Sarah Goldberg, Michael Goldsmith, Ilan Goodman, Stephen Greif, John Moraitis, Kevin Kiely, Luke Neal, Steven Pacey, Ian Redford, Sara Stewart, Paul Stocker and Kevin Trainor. The production is directed by David Grindley with designs by Jonathan Fensom, lighting by Jason Taylor and sound by Gregory Clarke. PLEASE NOTE: This production contains nudity. The age recommendation is 14+ (at the discretion of the parent/guardian). Anthony Head's recent West End theatre credits include Otherwise Engaged (Criterion Theatre 2005), the role of 'The Pirate King' in The Pirates of Penzance (Savoy Theatre 2004) and the role of 'Captain Hook' in Peter Pan (Savoy Theatre 2003). Lesley Manville's recent London theatre credits include All About My Mother (Old Vic Theatre 2007) and Some Girls (Gielgud Theatre 2005).

Six Degrees of Separation was originally seen on Broadway in 1990 when it played for nearly 500 performances. It was presented in London two years later in 1992 at the Royal Court Theatre with Stockard Channing, Paul Shelley and Adrian Lester before transferring to the Comedy Theatre and winning the Laurence Olivier Award for 'Best Play'. In 1993 it was adapted as a film starring Stockard Channing - reprising her stage role - along with Donald Sutherland and Will Smith. This new production will be the first major London revival of the play in almost 18 years.

"The idea of two-sidedness, one of too many bouncing around in this dazzling but ultimately indigestible play, is deftly illustrated by a two-faced painting by Kandinsky revolving high above the stage in David Grindley's stylish, slick revival. Being black among WASPs (white Anglo-Saxon Protestants) in New York in these pre-Obama days makes Paul something of a collector's item. It is this, surely, rather than his promise that these suckers will star in his father's film of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats, that helps to win their trust and friendship. Art-dealing couple Ouisa and Flan prove less broadminded when they find Paul in flagrante with a rent boy wearing nothing but a condom. Not surprisingly, however, it doesn't take long to discover that Poitier didn't have any sons, and the conman is rumbled.But - and I imagine this is the play's point - not before he has, in turn, rumbled his victims as snobbish, vain, celebrity-obsessed philistines. The problem is that Guare touches on far too much - the transforming power of the imagination, the (absurd) theory that everybody is separated by only six people - too sketchily and dizzyingly. I would have liked more layers." The Mail on Sunday

"John Guare's play, based on the true story of a charismatic youth who inveigles his way into the lives of a smart Manhattan couple by pretending to be the son of Sidney Poitier, was made into a 1993 film starring Stockard Channing and Donald Sutherland. Shorn of these two engaging stars and Jerry Goldsmith's stylish score, David Gindley's stage production is, alas, a strangely laborious affair... It is, however, Obi Abili, in the pivotal role of the society conman, who proves the play's undoing: he simply hasn't the 'elegance' about him that the couple talk about, and this makes it hard to understand how he could pull off such an audacious deception." The Sunday Telegraph

"Based on a true story, and a big hit when it first opened, John Guare's smart comedy satirises New York society as greedy, obsessed with celebrity culture and ignorant of the true value of art... In these days of social-networking sites, the paradox that we are all connected, but are becoming increasingly isolated, is even more pertinent now than it was in 1990. Unfortunately, both the play and David Grindley's hurried production talk of the emotional chasm that lies beneath the glittering surface, but never let one feel it." The Sunday Times

Six Degrees of Separation in London at the Old Vic Theatre previewed from 7 January 2010, opened on 19 January 2010 and closed on 3 April 2010.