This collaboration between theatre heavyweights Ivo van Hove and Simon Stephens has the flashes of brilliance you'd expect from such talents, but as a piece of theatre it feels flat.
Song From Far Away explores loss and love, as a young man (played with intensity by Dutch actor Eelco Smiths) grieves for his dead brother through a series of letters.
Despite potent poetry and moments of comedy the monologue doesn't grip. It feels like something that would be more rewarding to read than to view as a performance. Our engagement with the plot felt abstract and, though the subject matter is raw, a lack of humanity in both the protagonist and his dead brother creates a curiously detached effect. The premise of the play is intimacy and that is exactly what is missing in the production.
Ivo van Hove's direction is unsurprisingly stripped back -- sparse stage, stark delivery -- and this becomes literal when Eelco Smiths pulls away the layers of his mourning and strips off all his clothes. As a metaphor for the character's vulnerability the nudity is apt, but, as this bareness lasts the duration of the play the initial effect dulls and it begins to feel like this nakedness is the most ballsy and bold thing about the show.
Ivo van Hove: Young Vic blockbuster
Visionary Belgian director Ivo van Hove stormed the Young Vic stage with his edgy take on A View From the Bridge starring big screen actor Mark Strong. As the first feature production that van Hove has directed in the UK, the Arthur Miller adaptation's fanfare of five star reviews and subsequent West End transfer catapulted its director from highbrow experimentalist to the hottest name in directing.
Simon Stephens: new play
For his hotly-anticpated return to the Young Vic, Ivo van Hove directs this new play by Simon Stephens. The Olivier award-winning Curious Incident and Punk Rock playwright has written three adaptations for the theatre, but this is his first original play at the Young Vic. After opening in Brazil then Amsterdam, Song From Far Away is in London for blink-and-you'll-miss-it run, which sold out well before opening night.
|What||Song From Far Away, Young Vic|
|Where||The Young Vic, 66 The Cut, Waterloo, London, SE1 8LZ | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Southwark (underground)|
02 Sep 15 – 19 Sep 15, 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM
|Price||£10 - £35|
|Website||Click here to book via the Young Vic|