Fredo's Theatre Group 
 
 
 
 
 
An archive of our reviews (Part Five) 
Back to OnOurOwn click  HERE 
___________________________________________________________________________________________
Earlier Opinions for 2019 can be found HERE 
08/08/19 
The End of History by Jack Thorne, at the Royal Court 
 
What's it about? A left-wing couple, Sal and David, have tried to bring up their children to follow their principles. Over the next 20 years, these ideals are tested, embraced, betrayed and rejected. The distance between family bonds and family tensions is explored by the writer, sometimes hilariously but most often with powerful emotion. 
What did it have going for it? First of all, the writer Jack Thorne and the director John Tiffany have a good track-record in their body of work. Then the casting of theatrical heavyweights Lesley Sharp and David Morrissey confirmed that we were right to make our booking. The added attraction of Kate O'Flynn (A Taste of Honey) and Sam Swainsbury (tv's Mum) added to our anticipation. 
Did we enjoy it? Very much. Lesley Sharp commands the first act as though the part was tailor-made for her, and the family situation is set up convincingly so that the explosions that follow are plausible and gripping. The following scenes bristle with resentment between the children and their parents and each other. Laurie Davidson, as the sensitive younger son, exposes the awareness that they all share of being a disappointment to their parents' aspirations, and Zoe Boyle is an effective catalyst as she develops from a shy girlfriend to a resentful daughter-in-law. David Morrissey, strong throughout, rises to the occasion in the difficult final scene. 
Our Rating:   4/5 
Would the Group have booked? The Royal Court announces its season up to a year in advance, and then casts the plays much later. It''s always difficult to sell enough tickets to make a coach viable when we don't who's going to be in the play. By the time casting was announced, it would have been difficult to arrange a group booking. This is unfortunate, as I think the group would have booked for this one. 
Would the group have enjoyed it? Yes, I'm confident that they would. I'm sure everyone could identify with the predicaments in the family. It was funny and sad, and there is a lot to talk about – although we both enjoyed it, Mike and I had slightly different interpretations about the theme of the play. 
Group Appeal:   4/5 
Fredo 
Mike adds: Yes, we slightly disagreed on this one. It was certainly sharp and very funny, but a play 'of two halves', or more precisely 'two thirds and a third'. It started so well - the Socialist parents from Hell, flaunting their principles and so aware of the world's problems, yet blind to the growing problems within their family, thoroughly middle-class but scornful of anyone slightly more posh. Sal is the eternal Geenham Common Woman reliving her past, and David the Intellectual Socialst, tense, aloof, and always on a short fuse. They were too Left to be right. They despise their children’s choices in life putting ideology before family. This may sound heavy but it’s continually funny and I found myself laughing at them with no admiration for the way they Put Politics First. The family’s pain was evident too. Then came the coda - a serious eulogy for a lost champion of causes, no mention of misapplied socialist dogma. For me this was a cop-out, an excusing of a mismanaged life, there to please an audience maybe wanting redress after seeing their champions of Leftie politics the butt of so much laughter.Thorne says the play is a memoir of his beloved parents. So was this Wesker rewritten by Ayckbourn? A compromised attempt at combining the two, I say. Still 4 stars though - a lively portrayal of how earnest leftwing devotees can alienate those they want to convert.