Matthew Dunster’s production of True West starring Kit Harington (Game of Thrones) and Johnny Flynn (Hangmen) opens to mixed reviews at the Vaudeville Theatre in London’s West End.
Hailed as Sam Shepard’s masterwork, this contemporary American drama is set in the searing heat of the Californian desert and pits brother against brother as a family tears itself apart, exposing the cracks in the American Dream.
Harington and Flynn both give convincing performances but as brothers they are possibly mismatched.
The cast also includes Donald Sage Mackay as Saul Kimmer and Madeleine Potter as Mom.
True West is running until 23 February 2019 at the Vaudeville Theatre, London.
Read a round-up of theatre reviews from UK theatre critics at The Times, The Guardian, Time Out, Evening Standard, Telegraph and more, below
True West reviews
"This slight story of sibling rivalry has performances to savour from the two leads"
"It is, supremely, an actors’ play. But is it any more than that? The two lead parts, the battling brothers Austin and Lee, are taken by Kit Harington and Johnny Flynn respectively — and they have enormous fun with them, which makes it immensely entertaining to watch."
"Kit Harington and Johnny Flynn are good, if slightly mismatched, as the brothers in Sam Shepard’s haunting play"
"Enjoyable as Matthew Dunster’s revival is, I felt the play works best in small theatres and that the central pairing doesn’t achieve a perfect balance."
"Even if the central casting leaves something to be desired, it remains a pungent Shepard’s pie."
"Kit Harington and Johnny Flynn electrify in tale of brothers grim"
"Playing against type, Harington brings a neurotic intensity to neat and finicky screenwriter Austin."
"The play itself can feel like a series of bizarre riffs, but is packed with similarly outrageous moments."
"The first half belongs to Flynn, whose slow movements and rasping drawl give the wild, wandering Lee real menace. It’s a performance that flirts with overripeness, but there’s a strong sense of his feral charisma, particularly when he notes that most murders occur within the supposedly comforting framework of family."
"Gradually their roles reverse — each man trying on the other’s personality like a new suit that fits surprisingly well — and the second half is Harington’s"
"Even as they’re trashing the room, smashing objects and downing whiskey, the whole thing has the feel of an undergrad party where everyone’s pretending to ‘GO KERRRRAAAZZZY!!!’ in the most controlled way possible. And that’s never a story to remember."
"Kit Harington proves his mettle in Sam Shepard's bleak battle of wills"
"The late Sam Shepard’s True West is a remarkably delicate flower. Set it down in the wrong place, fail to moisten it with sufficient droplets of subtle directorial care, and a dark comedy of wild pungency can wilt into something oddly odourless."
"If the evening needs to look more rock n roll, less like a roughed-up version of The Odd Couple, there’s still enough to savour for the initiated and uninitiated alike. Having been as wooden as a Westeros draw-bridge in a dire Faustus two years ago, a heavily moustachioed Harington proves his mettle in this latest stage outing."
"Kit Harington does fine work in engaging dose of visceral elation"
"It’s Johnny Flynn whose comic perfection elevates this production of Sam Shephard’s wonderfully warped play"
"I’ve seen more visceral and menacing accounts of this play, but here you get an engaging dose of its visceral elation."
"A wickedly funny revival"
"This comes through in the performances of Game Of Thrones’ Kit Harington and singer-songwriter-actor Johnny Flynn. They’re both giving the finest stage performances of their careers to date, but you get the sense that they’re both having enormous fun too."