The Hard Problem
Director: Nicholas Hytner
Writer: Tom Stoppard
Cast: Olivia Vinall, Damien Molony, Anthony Calf, Eloise Webb, Daisy Jacob, Parth Thakerar, Vera Chok, Rosie Hilal, Lucy Robinson, Jonathan Coy, Kristin Atherton
Seen on: 16.04.2015
Psychology student Hilary (Olivia Vinall) is working on her thesis with her tutor Spike (Damien Molony). Hilary is convinced that there is something more to life than science and materialism, that there is something godly, whereas Spike is an absolutely materialistic and completely atheistic. But Hilary’s view helps her to secure a job at the renouned Krohl Institute for Brain Science when she answers the Hard Problem – whether consciousness can be completely explained by science – with no. There is a reason for Hilary’s insistence on something bigger than science, one that makes her pray every night for a miracle.
The Hard Problem is a brainy, well-acted and well-directed play that ends up a little too much on the sentimental side but is otherwise extremely enjoyable.
King Lear (Simon Russell Beale) is growing old and maybe even feels dementia approaching, so he decides to divide his kingdom between his three daughters and their husbands. But he expects a certain amount of flattery for it, which his youngest (and up to this point favorite) daughter Cordelia (Olivia Vinall) is unwilling to give him. Lear takes this as a sign that she doesn’t love him and banishes her. But a feeble king is the opportunity for all kinds of power struggles and soon there is trouble stirring all over.
This production of King Lear practically lives off the monumental performance by Simon Russell Beale. Though the rest isn’t bad either, he just takes center stage and completely dominates it. And maybe he should do that more often because the result is awesome.