Get a personalised letter from Santa

Theatre Review: Honour, Park Theatre, Finsbury Park

PUBLISHED: 14:13 07 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:32 08 November 2018

Imogen Stubbs and Henry Goodman in Honour at The Park Theatre picture Alex Brenner

Imogen Stubbs and Henry Goodman in Honour at The Park Theatre picture Alex Brenner

(c) Alex Brenner

Award-winning actors cannot salvage a mis-firing script about sacrifice and marital infidelity

It all starts so promisingly. An ageing journalist warmly welcoming the rapid-fire questions of an enthusiastic young interviewer.

The subject of a profile piece, the elder married man, George (Henry Goodman), is flattered, enjoying his chance to have an intellectual repartee in a context in which he is unfamiliar but within a role that he is oh-so-acquainted.

His inquisitor is a young, erudite woman, Claudia (Katie Brayben): self-assured, poised and confident.

His wife, Honor (Imogen Stubbs), a former author herself, is an earnest woman, who placed her career on hold in order to raise the couple’s child and afford George the opportunity to pursue his ambitions.

Together, Honor and George are the epitome of a blissfully happy couple. Or so they seem. Perhaps they have unwittingly flatlined; their pedestrian contentment of 32 years shielding them from their own stasis.

Claudia’s arrival awakens yearnings in George and the possibility of regret for Honor. The generational differences bring to the surface uncomfortable notions of sacrifice, expectation, obligation and loyalty.

Staged in the round, the audience surrounds the modestly furnished stage, adorned solely by a few blocks for sitting. Goodman and Brayben have previously won Oliviers, but good as they are they cannot salvage a script that frequently flounders. Paul Robinson’s play flatters to deceive. Some moments deliver clear-eyed, pithy observations that are beautifully profound and insightful. Yet other lines clatter and clang like a tone-deaf operator let loose on a set of timpani.

Engagement dissipates as matters unfold. The characters increasingly betray their own intelligence. George, in particular, is hard to fathom. Iintellectually bright but emotionally stunted, his dispassionately cruel treatment of his wife is hard to take. How is he so devoid of genuine, common compassion and empathy to his partner of many decades? The suddenness of his withdrawal, the volte-face of his conduct brings into question the the authenticity of these characters’ actions/reactions all round. Honour is not entirely floored by its mis-steps, but the mis-steps strongly dilute its overall potency.

2/5

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Stories

43 minutes ago

A person has died after a fire broke out in a first floor flat on Brassey Road in West Hampstead.

35 minutes ago

Highgate’s historic Prince of Wales pub has temporarily closed for a £250,000 refurbishment but its new manager has moved to allay fears that the traditional boozer will lose its character.

Yesterday, 17:22

England boss Gareth Southgate has hailed Harry Kane after the Spurs forward grabbed a late winner to send the impressive Three Lions through to the UEFA Nations League finals.

Yesterday, 16:15

England hosted Croatia at Wembley in the UEFA Nations League on Sunday. Read on for Layth Yousif’s match report.

Yesterday, 16:09

Arsenal maintained their 100 per cent FA WSL record with a 4-0 win over Everton in Southport.

Yesterday, 15:58

England hosted Croatia at Wembley in the UEFA Nations League on Sunday. Read on for Layth Yousif’s PLAYER RATINGS

Yesterday, 15:51

Hendon made their longest ever League trip, to Tiverton on Saturday, and returned to London with a point from a goalless stalemate.

Yesterday, 13:01

Wingate & Finchley endured a frustrating afternoon at Nyewood Lane after slipping to defeat to Bognor Regis Town – despite twice taking the lead either side of the break.

Most read Hampstead & Highgate etcetera

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now