Review: Mr Burns at the Almeida Theatre
Review: Carey Mulligan and Bill Nighy in Skylight, Wyndhams Theatre

Review: Seth Numrich in Fathers and Sons at the Donmar

Joshua James (Arkady) and Seth Numrich (Bazarov)

Been keen to see Seth Numrich on stage again after watching him pucker up with (lucky) Kim Cattrall in Sweet Bird of Youth at the Old Vic last year and here he is obliging me at the Donmar.

The play is a Brian Friel adaptation of Ivan Turgenev's novel set in 19th century Russia that pits youthful idealism and coming of age against the traditions the older generation.

Numrich plays Bazarov a university friend of Arkady (Joshua James) whose nihilistic beliefs don't exactly go down well when the two visit Arkady's father's estate.

Arkady shares his friend's belief but not quite his conviction and when he falls in love with the sister of a rich young widow tensions mount. Bazarov doesn't believe in love but that a physical coupling is natural and ultimately more honest. But it is in this belief where his own convictions are tested. Bazarov may be an excellent scholar and expert orator but his emotions perplex and challenge him beyond what he can reason which makes him particularly antagonistic.

His fate isn't totally unexpected but is beautifully and subtly played out so that it carries with it a lingering and emotional weight.

Brian Friel's adaptation and Lyndsey Turner's direction teases out the humour and the human nature in Turgenev's story. The parents are a mixture of love, reasonableness and embarrassment to their children with some wonderfully eccentric friends and relatives to add to the colour. The children are making their way into the world full of hope and ideals only to learn that life is not quite that simple.

Seth Numrich once again showed great emotional intensity and an ease of performance that made him a joy to watch and Joshua James more than matched as his affable and devoted friend. But neither were alone the cast as a whole is startlingly good.

Fathers and Sons made me laugh and brought a lump to my throat, it has warmth that makes its quiet tragedy all the more devastating. The Donmar is on a roll.

Booking until 26th July performances are two hours and 20 minutes including an interval.


I already did one for Seth when I reviewed Sweet Bird of Youth (see link above) so I've found another, Joshua James was in Polly Stenham's play No Quarter and Mr W recently appeared in her penned and directed one off Sky-drama - Foxtrot.