Honour At Park Theatre: All Lamb-Basting And No Lambasting

Honour, Park Theatre ★★☆☆☆

By Johnny Fox Last edited 6 months ago

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Honour At Park Theatre: All Lamb-Basting And No Lambasting Honour, Park Theatre 2
Photo: Alex Brenner

For a play about a marital bust-up after 32 years, Honour is a surprisingly bland and bloodless piece.

Australian author Joanna Murray-Smith has much more fun with feuding and unfaithful couples in her novels like Sunnyside than she can wring from the bourgeois intellectual George and the choice he makes between his rack of lamb basting poet wife, and an exciting 29-year-old  journalist sent like a cliché to interview him.

Photo: Alex Brenner

If you try to put yourself in each character’s shoes, you don’t make the decisions they do in the play: wordy bore George isn’t obviously a babe magnet — this is Henry Goodman, not George Clooney — and while he might be flattered at the young woman’s attention, he’d more likely plan a dirty weekend than offer to buy a yacht and take her around the world, especially when she doesn’t want to go.

The best interaction is between Stubbs as the wife and Katie Brayben, largely very convincing as the sharp journalist and they trade some good points about agency and entitlement and some women’s self-deluding complicity in men’s agendas - like career and fatherhood.

Photo: Alex Brenner

But then Murray-Smith lets us down again with a weak scene between Goodman and Brayben lounging on cushions and she’s girlishly asking to know more about Nietzsche or Sartre.  She doesn’t actually say ‘I like a man with a really big … intellect’ but you sense the author only narrowly decided to blue-pencil it.

All lamb-basting and no lambasting. Disappointing.

Honour, Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, N4 . Tickets £24.50-29.50, until 24 November 2018.

Last Updated 02 November 2018