The American Plan captivates audiences St James' Theatre
Wednesday 10 July 2013
The American Plan, the latest hit production with roots in Theatre Royal Bath, follows Fences and Relatively Speaking to the West End and into it new home at St James Theatre for a strictly limited run.
Written by Tony Award-winning playwright Richard Greenberg, The American Plan follows Lili, a troubled 20-year-old who feels trapped at a holiday resort where she is spending the summer with her mother.
Along comes the handsome Nick, a young man from the hotel across the lake who spends an afternoon with Lili. She quickly becomes dependent on his company and goes to great lengths to break him apart from his girlfriend Mindy to keep him for herself. Love blossoms, but when another man is thrown into the mix, Mindy turns out to be the least of Lili’s problems.
Emily Taaffe does well to capture the complexity of Lili’s character, at once a fragile and unstable figure and a selfish manipulator brimming with eccentricity. The presence of Luke Allen-Gale’s charming Nick brings an element of calm, providing an escape from her domineering mother and the troubled thoughts inside her head.
While every member of the five-strong cast, which also includes Dona Croll as Eva’s caring maid Olivia, delivers a convincing performance, Diana Quick steals the show as Lili’s dictatorial mother Eva, who draws humour from her past as a German Jewish refugee. Moving around the stage with a ‘Helen Mirrenesque’ sense of royal superiority, Quick delivers her lines with an amusingly stern accent, which punctuates this drama about sexuality, class and familial relationships with a powerful punch of humour.
Jonathan Fensom’s simplistic set evokes the lakeside setting beautifully; the sloping wooden jetty set producing reflections on the dark glossy flooring as if it were surrounded by water, but this eventually gives way to a less idyllic setting, which comes to reflect the melancholy of the play’s conclusion.
The American plan is on a strictly limited run, booking until 10/08/2013, and with tickets reduced to 28.50 you should book tickets while you still can!