30 January 2023
THE LEHMAN TRILOGY (Gillian Lynne Theatre) Review

The original production at the National Theatre (for which there is barely a review here) was something out of this world, both in terms of innovation and quality of acting/directing.  This run being the same production, but with a completely different cast, I tried to consider it on its own merit without comparing it to the original.

It is still a brilliant piece of writing (and an adaptation for 3), the staging works really well on a bigger stage, the sightlines are nice and clear from everywhere in the auditorium.  Although the set is essentially a glass box (with a few small panels removed during the previews of the original run in order to improve the acoustics, especially when the box is turning), it feels very free and not at all confined.  This is helped by the curved projection screen at the back of the stage, but it also seems to come from how the actors move through the different areas of the box set.

The play is a story of the Lehman family starting with the three brothers coming to America from Bavaria and ending with the complete ruin of everything they built.  This production has a completely different vibe with the new cast, both in the main characters (the 3 founding Lehman brothers) and everyone else they represent and voice.  Nigel Lindsay as Henry Lehman, the eldest brother, and then Philip, Henry’s nephew a generation later, brings charm and a deep sense of concentration and vision of the future.  Michael Balogun as Emanuel Lehman, the middle brother, is stern and rigid.  Hadley Fraser as Mayer Lehman, the youngest brother, and then Bobby, Philip’s son yet another generation on, is humorous in attitude even more so than in dialogue.

The show flies by (honestly, at 3:20 it feels shorter than some of the 1:30 shows out there), but, even with its ambiance and live piano music as the main soundtrack, it helps if you are at least a little bit interested in the Lehman family and its storyline.

Cheapskate enjoyment value: £15.

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