What The Night Is For

Previewed 7 November 2002, Opened 27 November 2002, Closed 9 February 2003 at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London

A major production of Michael Weller's new play What The Night Is For in London starring Gillian Anderson and Roger Allam and directed by John Caird.

Two lovers, both married, meet again in a hotel room. The result: one passionate night of honesty and deceit, hope and regret.

The cast for What The Night Is For in London stars Gillian Anderson as 'Melinda' and Roger Allam as 'Adam'. The production is directed by John Caird with designs by Tim Hatley and lighting by Paul Pyant. Gillian Anderson, best known for her role in television's The X-Files, makes her London West End stage debut in this production.

"The couple in What The Night Is For, a provocative, often painful, new play by American writer Mike Weller, have got it bad, which is why they have contrived a meeting 11 years after their affair ended. In the intervening years, both have married and had children. Lindy, a special-needs teacher, is attending a conference in the Mid-West; Adam, a top New York architect, has a vague excuse involving a new project. There's absolutely no doubt that they will end up in the vast bed in Lindy's luxury hotel room. The real question here is whether their smouldering passion will spark into an extramarital affair or explode into an inferno which will raze their current relationships and then blaze into a magnificent, permanent marriage of two minds. Potentially scorching stuff. Gillian Anderson sizzles deliciously as Lindy, hot to trot in a suit from which she is literally and metaphorically busting out all over... Roger Allam's stolid, pasty Adam, alas, has the reverse effect on me, which lowers the temperature in John Caird's production. Moreover, Weller's over-literal, insufficiently dramatic writing becomes wearing... The revelation that Lindy is a chemically dependent manic depressive (cue full-scale bonkers fit) in order to demonstrate that Adam deals with her emotional complexity better than her dull, grey, ever-forgiving husband almost finished me off. But I forgave him because of his occasional startling insight into what women want, how far they'll go to get it and how, in the meantime, they 'schedule their suffering between dishes and laundry', all of which is blisteringly true. And because of the odd line ('Adultery's one thing, but I draw the line at exercise') which made me laugh out loud." The Mail on Sunday

"Relationships. The truth is out there. But I'm not sure there is anything to be learned from this less-than-profound play about a man and a woman attempting to re-kindle their extramarital affair... Both Ms Anderson and her extremely able co-star Roger Allam delivered first-class performances in what I must sadly classify as a second-rate piece... Good performances, nice set, well directed. But the material was just too perfunctory." The Daily Mirror

"The play hits the ground at a slow crawl. The dialogue features those evasive courtesies, courtly reproaches and swaggeringly self-deprecating jovialities that make bad American TV-film writing so unique. The humour is goofy, prurient and bland... There are few things more tedious than being always several steps ahead of the characters and the author. Finally, the inevitable happens. But you are still only halfway through the play: complications occur, doubts arise and terrible truths are revealed. The writing clots and thickens... Roger Allam deploys all his great ironic talent and sensitivity in shaping a character out of all this... Gillian Anderson has a strong, elegant stage presence, poised and watchful." The Sunday Times

"The long procession of American stars ready to take their chance on the London stage continues. The latest is Gillian Anderson of The X Files, who proves to be as easy on the eye in reality as she is on the screen. I don't think anyone who goes to Michael Weller's What the Night is For just to gawp at her will be disappointed... The play as a whole veers between the serious and the stagey. You half believe in it, you are half aware all the time how artificial it is. Anderson is efficient but leaves you feeling uninvolved. Roger Allam is incapable of giving a bad performance, but for once he looks slightly uncomfortable: he can't help making Adam a more sympathetic character than the part warrants. John Caird directs; the designs - below his usual high level - are by Tim Hatley." The Sunday Telegraph

What The Night Is For in London at the Harold Pinter Theatre previewed from 7 November 2002, opened on 27 November 2002 and closed on 9 February 2003.