Tuesday, June 18

Best of Enemies – Young Vic

Travelling back to 1968, we are thrown of where to look. Television screens dotted in all directors, visual designs bringing the floor to life and a sudden influx of the famous figures who used to run America’s screens. This incredibly insightful, heated performance of America’s leading news channels battling out to pull in the most viewers, follows the ABC network trying out a new form of entertainment: putting opposite political views together and discussing. Where this may be a very popular and everyday occurrence for this day and age, we see how this now, almost obsessive form of television was brought to life.

In particular we follow William F Buckley, a conservative popular figure battle it out with the Liberal, ‘Gore Vidal’ as they discuss the upcoming election. Through these cunning, tactful debates we watch America protest and fight on the streets and wonder how much from this moment has severely impacted how America works today.

Written by the brilliant mind of James Graham and directed by the equally brilliant Jeremy Herrin who took inspiration from the documentary ‘Best of Enemies’ created by Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon. Not to mention being co’-produced by ‘Headlong’, a well-loved company with big ideas and an even bigger heart for theatre.

Production Photography by Wasi Daniju

I believe the combination of the mixed media with watching in real time was so effective and outstanding to watch: a real treat to see a creative team making a real masterpiece.

Lead by the seriously mesmerising pair David Harewood and Charles Edwards, we can never underestimate the heat they bring to their performance. Almost as if watching an action movie but the action is all in what they will come up with next. It feels fresh, passionate and utterly out of control. Two actors truly at the top of the game and such a joy to have witnessed it.

In not originally knowing anything about this story, I feel so enriched and thoughtful about what I heard. Most importantly hearing the line ‘America is run by television’ in which I believe I’d just witness the creation of a disoriented and disillusioned nation, which is still is as powerful today. But where this piece makes comment on the America we hear so much about every single day and ask, why? We can’t avoid the similarities in our own government in also watching our TV’s and deciding ‘Who do I like the most?’

Resulting in the Britain we are living in today.

Best of Enemies continues at the Young Vic until the 22nd January 2022, https://www.youngvic.org/whats-on/best-of-enemies

What a brilliant show.

Reviewer: Alice Rose

Reviewed: 10th December 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★