Drawing the Line: ★★★★ from Metro

Posted on 11 December 2013.

Posted in: Theatre Reviews

Drawing the Line: ★★★★ from Metro

Prime minister asking a favour? Drawing The Line is a big story well told
By Robert Shore, The Metro

Imagine the scene: out of the blue the prime minister asks you a favour. Would you decide how India should be partitioned for him? You know nothing about the subcontinent or its politics, and there’s absolutely no chance of satisfying the demands of the groups involved in this huge geographical carve-up but you say yes anyway.

It sounds fantastical but that’s what happened in 1947 when Clement Atlee summoned Cyril Radcliffe, a judge who cited a trip to Venice as his biggest adventure abroad, and told him he had five weeks to settle the boundary between India and Pakistan.

Howard Brenton’s tale of Radcliffe’s delirium-inducing visit to the British Raj sees him confidentally sketching a series of portraits of major 20th-century political figures (Nehru, Gandhi, Jinnah, Atlee et al).

It’s a big story, with a lot of background information and cartographical detail to be conveyed. But it’s economically and resonantly told in Howard Davies’s smartly designed, well-acted production.

Vivid phrases tumble from characters’ lips as they try to decide whether Radcliffe is an assassin sent to murder India, a comic actor in a Gilbert and Sullivan opera or (in the flailing Radcliffe’s own assessment) the patsy of the gangsterish imperial powers-that-be. It’s well worth a visit to Hampstead to make up your own mind.

Click here to visit Metro online

Back to top
Most viewed
Latest from Twitter:
  • Hampstead Theatre @Hamps_Theatre

    🚨 Calling all Lighting Extraordinaires 🚨 We're looking for an exceptional individual to deliver all lighting, sou… https://t.co/5uJ9znX0Sv

    8 days ago
  • Hampstead Theatre @Hamps_Theatre

    In light of the recently announced lockdown, we regretfully confirm that rest of the programmed run of The Dumb Wai… https://t.co/GKxHkOXkZC

    1 months ago
  • Hampstead Theatre @Hamps_Theatre

    Thank you for all your support and encouragement this year. We can’t wait to see you in 2021 - until then, take car… https://t.co/fJrQPyG8hL

    1 months ago

KEEPING YOU SAFE AT HAMPSTEAD

1 Social Distanced 2

SOCIAL DISTANCING

2 Reduced Audience Capacity 1

REDUCED AUDIENCE CAPACITY

3 MASKS REQUIRED 1

FACE MASKS REQUIRED

4 TEMPERATURE CHECKS2

TEMPERATURE CHECKS

5 STATE OF THE ART VENTILATION2

START OF THE ART VENTILATION

6 ENHANCED CLEANING2

ENHANCED CLEANING

7 CONTACTLESS TICKETS2

CONTACTLESS TICKETS

8 HAND SANITIZING STATIONS 1

HAND SANITIZING STATIONS

9 CASHLESS PAYMENT3

CASHLESS PAYMENT