Two Thousand Years - First Impressions

By Rob Last edited 160 months ago
Two Thousand Years - First Impressions

Mike Leigh's new play now has some reviews to go along with its recently revealed title.

After a shaky start last week when the first two previews were cancelled, it's now all systems go for Leigh's new venture, which is called Two Thousand Years.

What's it about?

Well, first, what it's not about is the war in Iraq or Jewish settlers in 1948 Israel.

The actual plot is nicely summarised in The Telegraph: "This story of Jewish parents struggling with their son's zealous dedication to the faith which they had never truly practised is told with warmth, irreverent humour and rich insights into family life in general and Jewish family life in particular."

And idea of just how topical it is comes from the Guardian:

"The play zipped across the political terrain of Israel, Iraq, withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and even the floods in New Orleans, as Leigh, 62, perhaps proved why the first performance was suddenly postponed last Thursday: it was clear the author of Abigail's Party and Secrets & Lies was still writing it."

Where is it set?

According to the Guardain the play is "set amidst the comfortable sofas and stripped pine of a middle-class north London living room, so we have to go to the Telegraph to find out that Leigh's Jewish family live in Cricklewood.

Is it any good?

Well here's Nigel Sharps, quoted in the Guardian:

"It was one of the most brilliant pieces of work I have ever seen. I'm Jewish and this nails Jewish family life like nothing that has ever been around in this country. It's so truthful. I couldn't imagine anyone who exists in a family not finding this moving and funny."

However, other views expressed in the same article talk of "a sense of anticlimax at a play that was slow to get going and domestic exchanges that sometimes seemed banal."

The Telegraph also has a little criticism ("the play loses some of its power in the second half") but overall they can't help but admire "the majesty of Leigh's drama [as] he tackles serious issues with such a light touch."

Will I be able to get tickets?

Probably not, all 16,000 advance tickets have gone but there are some day-of-performance tickets remaining for those who want them badly enough. To give you an idea, over the weekend queues were forming at around 5 in the morning for just 30 extra tickets. If you want more info you can ring (0)20 7452 3000, or visit

Last Updated 12 September 2005