Already The Best Play Of 2018: The Inheritance At The Young Vic

The Inheritance, Young Vic ★★★★★

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Already The Best Play Of 2018: The Inheritance At The Young Vic The Inheritance, Young Vic 5
Photo: Charlie Gray

It would be hard to imagine a play about young gay lives that speaks more eloquently to older gay men than the moving, informative and often hilarious The Inheritance at the Young Vic.

At the end of the first part which explores how the AIDS crisis unfolds among young attractive Manhattanites, some exchanged glances indicating ‘I lived through this too’. By the end of part two, many were openly weeping, such is the power and beauty of this production, possibly director Stephen Daldry's finest work.

Author Matthew Lopez is little-known here, but may have redefined the gay writing genre for a new generation. Lopez uses the device of a creative writing class on E M Forster to adapt the plot of Howards End so that the disused property figures large in a four-way relationship between two older and wealthier, and two younger and aspirational men whose pathways to and through the health crisis are criss-crossed with politics, drugs and inter-generational sex. It’s like a fat and occasionally filthy novel. The action is played out on a sparse set by barefoot and occasionally bare-bottomed actors.  You can binge watch it like it’s on Netflix or see it over two nights. Whichever, it’s worth scrabbling for one of the few remaining tickets.

No man in the cast is less than excellent, but Samuel H Levine is outstanding as fresh-faced Adam and hustler Leo and while the marvellous John Benjamin Hickey brings class and sensitivity, it is Paul Hilton as the Forster-ish Morgan and as Hickey’s valiant partner Walter who will walk away with the awards.

Vanessa Redgrave makes an eleven o’clock appearance as the mother of an infected son who failed to come to terms with it while he was alive and now wants to atone. It’s a moving device, but a less mannered actress might have carried it without pulling focus.

The Inheritance, Young Vic, The Cut, SE1.  Tickets £10-38 (each part) until 19 May 2018.

Review by Johnny Fox and Chris Bridges.  

Last Updated 06 April 2018