Sam Troughton as Larry
Noina Toussaint-White as Anna
in Closer at the Lyric Hammersmith 2022
Photo by Marc Brenner
051 – Closer, by Patrick Marber
Patrick Marber’s play Closer depicts a merry-go-round of metropolitan relationships powered by sex and betrayal, where partners fall in and out of love in constant search of new stimulation and self-worth. The play premiered at the National Theatre in 1997, and its clever and candid dissection of the destructive power of sexual desire hit a contemporary nerve, propelling it on to the West End and Broadway, and winning Olivier and NY Critics Circle Awards. It was also made into a film in 2005, directed by Mike Nichols, and starring Clive Owen, Julia Roberts, Jude Law and Natalie Portman.
Now twenty-five years on the play has been revived at the Lyric Hammersmith in a dazzling new production directed by Clare Lizzimore. Clare joins me in this episode to explore how Marber’s portrait of sexual behaviour written in a different social and moral time has aged. Does its unflinching display of basic instincts still offer salutary truths in our #MeToo world?
Clare Lizzimore is a director and a writer. She was a resident director the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow and a staff director at the National Theatre, and she has directed numerous plays as part of the Royal Court Theatre’s international programme.
More recently she has directed plays not only at the Royal Court, but at the Arcola, Theatre 503, Hampstead, the Kiln, the Old Fire Station in Oxford and at the Young Vic, where her production of Mike Bartlett’s play Bull won an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre.
As a playwright, Clare has written plays for the Royal Court and the Studio Theatre in Washington, DC.
Clare recommended The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh
The Footnotes to our episode on Closer include more on the chronology of the scenes in the play, Marber’s clever manipulation of time and space in the staging, the significance of the Newton’s Cradle prop, and the resonance of the title.
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Tyrell William’s award-winning, debut play Red Pitch is set on an inner-city football pitch in South London. It is a coming-of-age story, with teenage boys fighting to believe in their dreams, and to find a way up, and perhaps out, of their changing community. The play premiered at the Bush Theatre in London in February 2002, winning several awards, and is currently enjoying a sell-out revival at the Bush.
Tyrell Williams, and the show’s director, Daniel Bailey, join me to explore this joyful and poignant new play.
Photo by Helen Murray.
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I am joined in this episode by Professor Eamonn Jordan, to help us come to terms with the impact and intent of McDonagh’s work.
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