No Man’s

Country Life Every Week - - Performing Arts -

see that in the mar­vel­lous sec­ond act in which, after a night of pole-ax­ing drink­ing, hirst bounds into the room and greets Spooner as if he were a long-lost friend. It’s all a fan­tasy, but one in which Spooner grad­u­ally col­ludes.

It’s as­ton­ish­ing to see Sir Ian’s large, seamed fea­tures crum­ple into slack-jawed dis­may as hirst claims he had an af­fair with Spooner’s wife, but, equally, it’s won­der­ful to see Sir Pa­trick’s hirst go­ing beet­root-coloured with in­dig­na­tion as Spooner of­fers in­ti­mate sex­ual de­tails of a re­la­tion­ship with a girl they both knew at Ox­ford. This is high com­edy that acts as a pre­lude to the twi­light ada­gio of the play’s cli­max in which hirst seems trapped in a no man’s land that ‘re­mains for­ever icy and silent’.

It helps that Sir Pa­trick and Sir Ian are good friends and

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