Review of ‘Plenty’ by David Hare.
David Hare’s Plenty is a deeply conflicted play. It follows the life of Susan Traherne from her days as a secret agent during the Second World War, through her ensuing mental deterioration in the post-war period. The Britain of the 1950s and 60s, according to Hare, is morally bankrupt – hypocritical, decadent, and, like Susan, pushing itself to ruin. Underneath this almost didactic veneer, however, run less conclusive undercurrents. Directed by Luke Howarth, the current staging running at the Keble O’Reilly Theatre mainly rose admirably to the challenge of this nuanced script, although there were moments where the writing slightly outstripped the production and its actors. For the most part, however, this is a solid rendition of Hare’s state-of-the-nation play.
The form of Plenty embodies the fractured mental state of its central protagonist. Swapping between flashbacks, future scenarios, and scenes
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