The Lion in Winter Nov.11th, ’11

london west end

Talk about dysfunctional families – a brilliant glimps into the hate/love of a long defunct marriage, a husband with a young lover, three sons who are a jock, a cunning manipulator and a rather dim wannabe who are all fighting for power and gain. One of the sons is gay, one a sociopath and one plain stupid. And both parents, though living apart for obvious reasons, still mourn the death of their eldest son who in hindsight and with the misty-eyed view of their past, would have been the perfect successor for both his father’s and his mother’s enterprises. So this is indeed a very modern play – even though it is set in 1183 and the players are Henry II and his wife Eleonore of Aquitane and their sons Richard Lionheart, Jeffrey and John Lackland…

Assisted by brilliant Joanna Lumley and Robert Lindsay, the story unfolds as Henry wants John as his successor, Eleonore wants Richard and Philipp of France wants his sister married off and to continue his dalliance with Richard. On a very cold and dark Christmas Day the twists and turns of these plotters and schemers revolve around power and one upmanship until in the end nothing has been solved and the status quo is reestablished – a war with Philipp probably avoided and every solution postponed until the next time Eleonore is let out of her luxury prison – at Easter. The war of words will continue – and will end only after Henry’s and Eleonore’s death, when they are put to rest next to each other in Fontevront Abbey.

It’s a brilliant play, obviously known through the movie, but well played in London and well worth a visit! Lindsay and Lumley find the perfect interplay showing their love and contempt for each other. Go and see – it’ s fantastic!

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