(Lyn Gardner’s article appeared in the Guardian, 10/23.)
There is usually a moment in the theatre, often after the first few minutes or the first few scenes, when you start to relax into a play. You are confident that you have a grip on it; all anxiety about making sense of the action disappears. It’s not so in Florian Zeller’s slippery but hugely rewarding play about Andre (Kenneth Cranham), an elderly man with dementia, and the efforts of his daughter Anne (Lia Williams) to balance her love for her father and the need to care for him with the demands of her own life and relationship with Pierre (Colin Tierney).
Winner of the 2014 Molière award for France’s best play, The Father makes us see things as if through the confused eyes of Andre, as he struggles to make sense of a progressively befuddling world. Sound grim? It’s not. It’s a play that constantly confounds expectations and works almost like a thriller, with a sinister Pinteresque edge, as complete strangers keep on turning up in Andre’s flat.