Jenny Seagrove and Martin Shaw reunite onstage in Clifford Odets’s The Country Girl at the Apollo Theatre, following their onscreen roles in Judge John Deed.
The Country Girl is the powerful story of washed-up actor Frank Elgin, a desperate and demanding alcoholic who is offered a comeback chance to star in the next Broadway play by hotshot director Bernie Dodd. Believing the actor’s long-suffering wife Georgie is the reason for his decline, Bernie strikes up a stormy relationship with her – but in 1950s New York how far will a woman go to redeem the man she loves?
The play is directed by Rufus Norris (Festen, Cabaret).
Read a round-up of press reviews for The Country Girl, below.
"It's hard to feel involved with the characters, or the battle for Frank's soul, until the last scenes, when Scott Pask's atmospheric backstage design is invaded by a sleek Broadway dressing room, and the offstage first night gathers momentum in excited hearsay. Norris plots this very well, and the surprise dramatic caesura is helped by an added, belated emotional urgency in the playing."
"Odets wrote a gift part for a star actor, and it is one that Shaw seizes avidly by conveying the fear that lurks beneath the smell of the greasepaint."
"Rufus Norris's beautifully judged production the play is also exceptionally funny in its portrayal of the tantrums, crises and nerves attending a Broadway-bound production."
"But it is the performances of Martin Shaw as the old lush of an actor-laddie, all bombast, self-pity and manipulation, and Jenny Seagrove as his desperate wife, clenched with misery and anxiety as she tries to keep him on the straight and narrow, that ensure the production's success."
"Shaw has a decent stab at drunk and dishevelled, swigging with abandon at the cough mixture with the high alcohol content, but the real problem lies where the play's beating, bleeding heart should be. Even when expressing any sign of positivity - and there are few enough of these available to Georgie - Seagrove looks pinched and blanched of emotion, which results in a grim one-note performance."
"Stage veterans Shaw and Seagrove starred together in the BBC TV series "Judge John Deed," and they use that experience knowingly here."