More than a fifth of Superfluities Redux‘ readers come from the United Kingdom; this post is to alert them that the new London revival of Edward Bond’s Saved, which I mentioned last week, has received predictably extreme reviews, both good and bad — testimony to the play’s continuing power. Leo Benedictus, in yesterday’s Guardian, has a round-up of opinion, and Aleks Sierz wrote about the show at his Pirate Dog blog:
What is … important is Bond’s conception of family life as shown by the succession of scenes set in the living room. These are written in different emotional keys: lust, despair, desperation and, finally, a kind of exhausted resignation. The last scene is a study in silence: despite what Bond says, I felt exhausted, but not that anyone had been saved. Here, family life is a boarding house where all members are both hosts and lodgers. It is fuelled by a palpable fury against the poverty of everyday life. What’s particularly striking about this play is how a work of genius makes our usual categories of comprehension so feeble. We call plays relevant, but this is such an inadequate word for Saved; we call plays state-of-the-nation, but this is plainly weak: Saved is a report on modern humanity, it’s about Oedipus in south London. It also exists in a parallel universe to the historical mid-1960s, when it was written: the television is on, but no programmes are recognisable; a radio plays, but not a pirate station; a jukebox is used, but not for the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. No, the play is much bigger than its time: it’s a jewel on the ragged necklace of new writing that stretches from Beckett and Pinter to Cartwright, Crimp and Kane. This is the most important revival of the year.
Saved runs at the Lyric Hammersmith through 5 November. It is unlikely that it will be transmitted to theatres around the world a la the National Theatre’s Live program; I’m sorry I can’t be there. But that shouldn’t stop you.