(Michael Billington’s article appeared in the Guardian, 5/14.)
When it was formally announced in 2003 that Kevin Spacey was to be the new director of the Old Vic, there was a certain amount of scepticism. Would he serve out his promised 10-year term? Was he, perhaps, another Hollywood star using the London theatre to buff up his CV? I remember a particularly horrible press conference a year later, when Spacey sought to announce his programme: the Old Vic stalls were packed with hacks asking prurient questions about his private life. It didn’t help that the opening work of Spacey’s tenure was a Dutch play all too aptly called Cloaca which, as Latin scholars are aware, means “sewer”.