Review: Some Desert Cities, Old Vic

The road sign on the highway from Los Angeles airport says “Palm Springs and other desert cities” and that’s where this play is set. It starts with the conflict between the Republican, old Hollywood parents and their daughter, a liberal writer who has chosen to live in New England but is home for Christmas. It turns out that she has written an autobiographical book about the dead brother they never talk about and tension builds. Her brother tries to calm things down while her alcoholic aunt does her bit to stir things up. A brilliant observation of a dysfunctional family with some interesting plot twists I won’t mention. What seems cut and dried turns out to be that much more complicated and more fascinating. The Old Vic has been transformed to create a theatre in the round which works brilliantly, especially if you get a seat close to the stage (although the front row seats are very low so get the second row if you can). Sinéad Cusack as the mother, Peter Egan as the father and Martha Plimpton as the daughter all give unmissably brilliant performances, so make sure you don’t miss it.

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