The Greatest Play In The History of the World (4 stars)

This article is from 2018

The Greatest Play In The History of the World

credit: Sid Scott

Moonage daydream in Ian Kershaw's life-affirming play

Some plays should be prescribed on the NHS. The Greatest Play … is one such play. It's like a tincture for the soul, a feelgood story with love inscribed even in its process of creation. With the warmth and ease of a stand-up comedian, Julie Hesmondhalgh narrates a space-age love story written by her husband Ian Kershaw which weaves poetry into the most seemingly mundane situations.

Time seems to have stood still for Tom, an aspiring writer and lost soul in an ordinary, curtain-twitching neighbourhood. But as he stands at his window, there is another figure on the street across the way mirroring him. Has he found a new plot point, or a true soulmate? What unravels is often profound, funny and heartfelt.

It takes skilful storytelling to bring chance, parallel universes, and cosmology to what is ostensibly a light rom-com. That Kershaw's script does it with humour and heart reveals the voice of a sensitive and talented playwright.

From the first moments, when Hesmondhalgh asks audience members to divest themselves of their shoes, she flawlessly brings to the fore reminders and eloquent evocations of the vastness of space, and incidents of human interconnectivity. A small, perfectly formed production.

Traverse, until 26 Aug (not 13,20) times vary, £20.50 (£15.50).

The Greatest Play in the History of the World…

  • 4 stars

Tara Finney Productions in association with Royal Exchange Theatre A love story, set on Preston Road, and also in space and in time. A man wakes in the middle of the night to discover that the world has stopped. Through the crack in his bedroom curtains, he can see no signs of life at all… other than a light in the house…