A closely observed and often savage portrait of a family that’s coming apart at its seams.
As part of its arrangement with the National Theatre Live, the NCPA Mumbai will now have a live show of Stephen Beresford’s new play, The Last of the Haussmans. The NT Live series at the NCPA has, in the past, shown such plays as Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein and is drawing an increasing number of viewers. The Last of the Haussmans has all the elements of a conventional kitchen sink family play, including twists and surprises. There is plenty of black humour in this closely observed and, often savage, portrait of a family that has begun to lose its centre. There is conflict, humour and an often powerful sense of pathos.
Julie Walters plays Judy Haussman — a relic of the hippie age who still subscribes to the liberal values and views of the 1960s — with great humanity and comic insight. Judy, holding court in her dilapidated Art Deco house on the Devon coast as she recuperates after surgery, is joined by her wayward offspring Nick and Libby; her sharp-eyed granddaughter Summer; the local doctor Peter; and Daniel, a troubled teenager who makes use of the family’s swimming pool.
Rory Kinnear, as Judy’s son Nick, and Helen Mc Rory, as Libby, ensure that the personal is always undershot with the political and a powerful sense of invisible decline that this family is up against.
Although the drama seems to be made up predominantly of the chaotic world of all-day drinking, infatuations, long-held resentments, free love and failure, there is more.
There are connections to be realised between the shifting contexts in which successive generations of Haussmans see themselves, and the gap that exists between their self image and hopes for each other and the way their lives are actually being lived.
The Last of the Haussmans
An NCPA-National Theatre Live (London) Presentation
Where: Dance Theatre Godrej, NCPA, Mumbai
When: November 10, 11 and 12