BWW Review: GOD OF CARNAGE, Theatre Royal, Glasgow
When eleven year old Henry is hit in the face with a stick by his playmate Freddie, their parents meet to discuss what happens next. Gathering in Veronica and Michael's tastefully decorated home, the two couples attempt to trash out the incident but the social niceties soon descend into chaos.
The meeting begins with Veronica (Elizabeth McGovern) reading out an impossibly formal statement detailing Henry's injuries (the loss of two incisors) with the support of her husband Michael (Nigel Lindsay). While the parents of Freddie are initially happy for their son to accept responsibility, they feel that there is blame on both sides as it emerges that Henry was excluding Freddie from his gang which is what led to the altercation.
Both sets of parents are impossibly middle class and at the beginning their strained conversation centres around their impressive careers and a love of art. God of Carnage takes a close look at social conventions and the unique awkwardness of being in the home of someone you don't know very well.
While Yasmina Reza's script is finely tuned and packed with wit, it takes an impressive cast to really pull this off. Samantha Spiro was particularly excellent as Annette, a mild mannered woman who eventually snaps. Her husband Alan (Simon Paisley Day) is permanently glued to his work phone and instilled with a great sense of self importance. Although all of the characters have flaws there's something oddly likeable about watching these people unravel infront of you.
With a 1hr25minute runtime this is a play that examines what is seen as socially acceptable and doesn't outstay its welcome.
God of Carnage runs at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow until 1 February.
Photo credit: Nobby Clark