Wednesday, April 24

Tag: Lindsay Duncan

Dear Octopus – National Theatre
London

Dear Octopus – National Theatre

This was a tender play about family dynamics which takes its title from a speech in the second act that praises the family unit as a ‘dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape’. On the eve of World War Two, we bear witness to the reunion of the Randolph family, which forces them and their servants to confront the elements of romance, hatred, jealousy and shame that underscore their interactions. I enjoyed the wit that laced through the piece, as is characteristic of Dodie Smith’s writing. This was present in the conversation of the family quarrels, but also in repeated motifs, i.e. the fact that each character is aware of Fenny’s love for Nicholas, which added a comical touch to the action. A primary issue was the play’s dated narrative; for instance, the reason for Cynth...