Game of tones

An Amer­i­can clas­sic comes to the West End

Esquire (UK) - - Culture -

Bri­tish ac­tors Kit Har­ing­ton and Johnny Flynn have not un­size­able weights upon their shoul­ders this month, as they take joint lead in the West End pre­miere of Sam Shep­ard’s True West

— a Pulitzer Prize-nom­i­nated play by a Pulitzer Prize-win­ning writer — di­rected by Matthew Dun­ster.

True West cen­tres on spar­ring broth­ers Austin and Lee holed up in their mother’s Cal­i­for­nian home. Austin is a writer des­per­ately try­ing to fin­ish a script; Lee is his way­ward older sib­ling there to dis­tract and, you might won­der, sab­o­tage him. Hav­ing not seen one an­other for five years, there is a heap of fa­mil­ial angst stored up.

The pri­mary thing to nail is the ac­cent, says Har­ing­ton, “be­cause it can com­pletely ruin a per­for­mance for the au­di­ence.” But it’s a chal­lenge. “I’m so painfully English as a per­son. It’s some­thing about the ca­dence and rhythm of an Amer­i­can ac­cent that I’ve never been en­tirely com­fort­able with. Also, Amer­i­cans hold them­selves and move in a dif­fer­ent way.”

World fa­mous now as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones, Har­ing­ton’s first role out of drama school in 2007 was in the Na­tional Theatre’s War Horse, and he has “missed be­ing on stage very much” since last fre­quent­ing it, as the lead in Doc­tor Faus­tus in 2016.

His True West co-star Johnny

Flynn was most re­cently seen in ITV’s

Van­ity Fair. Also a mu­si­cian, he has com­posed orig­i­nal mu­sic for this pro­duc­tion which, if his catchy theme tune to BBC Four’s De­tec­torists is any­thing to go by, you’ll be hum­ming for months.

Vaude­ville Theatre, Lon­don WC2, from 23 Novem­ber; truewest­lon­don.com

Kit Har­ing­ton and Johnny Flynn dou­ble up in True West

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