Mike Bartlett, who will be best known to many for the smash hit TV drama Doctor Foster, must surely be the toast of theatreland right now. The writer has seen high profile runs of his Trump satire The 47th at the Old Vic and Scandaltown at the Lyric Hammersmith drawing huge crowds, as well as the revival of Cock in the West End.
It is therefore something of a coup for Greenwich Theatre to have secured the rights to stage An Intervention, Bartlett’s play about friendship, conflicts, and how we deal with them, from the deeply personal to the intercontinental.
The two characters in An Intervention, A and B, have been best friends for a long time. Well, friends anyway. Do grown-ups really have best friends? Then when a war overseas brings into sharp focus a deep-seated difference of opinion between the two, their relationship is put under huge pressure. As the show begins one has just come home from attending a huge anti-war protest whilst the other didn’t turn up, but that single event is set to affect their relationship in a whole host of unexpected ways.
Bartlett’s play is about taking the easy road or confronting our demons, about being honest with others and with ourselves, about being brave in our communication, but it’s also gloriously theatrical. It owes as much to Morecombe and Wise as it does to political satire or deep emotional drama. Audiences who come to the show, which will surely be the most affordable production of a Mike Bartlett play in London this year, should expect to see the Greenwich Theatre stage used in a new way, forcing them to get up close and personal with these two characters as their relationship frays, but celebrating the art of theatre at the same time.
Interestingly, Bartlett has written both characters A and B so they might be played by any actors of any age, gender or ethnicity. Thanks to this gender neutral characterisation, director James Haddrell wasn’t constricted by gender norms during the casting process for Greenwich Theatre’s production! Haddrell has made the unusual choice to cast two female identifying actors in the roles of A and B, establishing a queer subnarrative within the production. Helen Ramsay will be making her professional debut playing “A” in An Intervention, whilst Lauren Drennan returns to Greenwich Theatre’s stage as “B”, after appearing in their production of Alarms and Excursions by Michael Frayn earlier this year.
An Intervention is at Greenwich Theatre 22nd July to 13th August 2022.