CTR - Review of Frost/Nixon

Frost/Nixon

Tue 10th – Sat 14th October 2017

reviews

Laura Catherine Ferrier

at 22:59 on 10th Oct 2017

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Frost/Nixon explores the widely received interviews between talk show host David Frost and disgraced American President Richard Nixon. What the audience experiences is an impressive insight into political controversy and the humans behind it.

Joe Tyler Todd gave an exceptional performance as Nixon, perfecting the mannerisms, stance and speech of the discredited American leader. Allowing the audience to delve into the man behind the controversy, Todd both at once conveyed the politician and the person. Similarly, Robin Franklin brought energy and buoyancy to the role of Frost, a man who is perhaps hard to pin down. The entire cast contributed to what was an excellent play, with many perfecting the American accents their characters required.

Credit must be given to the production team, who created a polished and professional atmosphere in which the action could take place. The hair and make-up was particularly well done, especially for the purpose of bringing Nixon to life on the face of Todd.

The set design was simple yet effective, with the ever-present media looming in the background in the form of headlines and images related to the scandal and admissions Nixon would make in the interviews. Foreshadowing the end of the play and Nixon’s expression of guilt, the audience is reminded that the temptation to sympathise with the ex-President is a conflicting one, as while he slipped into depression and desperation, a fate you are unlikely to wish on anyone, the looming demon of corruption and lies remains. To this end, audio clips of news reports and discussions are used in the opening moments of the play and second half, at once simulating the overwhelming presence of the media and the outrage of a cheated population. For a show that had already drawn the audience into its world of political intrigue, the audio provides yet another anchor to reality.

All that can really be found to fault were the minor technical difficulties and slight delays that come part and parcel with the opening night of many plays. These will undoubtedly be ironed out, and while the lit television screens showing error messages were initially distracting, the audience was soon drawn into an excellent show.

The pertinence of such a scandal cannot be overlooked at this time, as nations such as America are finding themselves in situations were blurred lines are becoming the norm, and the boundaries between appropriate and inappropriate, legal and illegal are seemingly less concrete for those who have the privilege of holding power. An idea that perhaps is the most alarming message of the play was delivered by Thomas Greig’s Jim Reston, and is that maybe there is no difference between showbiz and politics; an idea, that plays on the minds of so many of us now, whose fate seemingly lies in the hands of so few.

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