Filled with years of pent-up Democrat exuberance, I trotted off to the Donmar Warehouse last night where I joined throngs of London's upper-echelon theatre goers including Tony Bennett, by crashing (via a last minute £7.50 standing ticket) the Directors' Forum (read: stonking rich theatre funders) special evening production of David Mamet's 65-minute play The Cryptogram starring Kim 'SITC Samantha' Cattrall. In attendance was a large population of the Sloane Rangerfied Americans replete with pearl necklaces and quilted Chanel purses filled with admonition over the day's 'Bush bashing.' It was then I realised how the Dems pulled it off: all of the Republicans have moved to London!
But cocktail hour tongue biting aside, the evening was a resplendent, if cryptic, affair which is a tall compliment for Mamet who can be challenging at the best of times. Set in Chicago, 1959 the main characters are 10-year old John, his mother played by Cattrall, and a gay, male family friend. The drama centres on the corruption of John's innocence (and by implication sanity) after being thrust into the world of adult betrayal and evasion. While at first it was hard to believe Cattrall the 1990s Manhattan temptress as a 1950s Midwestern housewife, she merges the two by carrying off the scorned female with excellence. But the show-stopper was undoubtedly young John who plays a traumatised, Macaulay Culkin-like character with astonishing composure.
At just over an hour the evening was hard to fault and should emblazon even the repressed theatre lovers heart. And if you take nothing else away just remember that you never need to pay full-price at the Donmar. The standing seats are £7.50 and the theatre is so intimate (aka cramped) that you often get a better (unobstructed by a random, giant-sized, Dutch tourist) view from the back.
The Cryptogram, Donmar Warehouse
41 Earlham Street, Covent Garden
0870 060 6622
Until 25 Nov