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  • Articles by Mary

    Rules for Living at the National Theatre

    Oh dear, yet another dysfunctional family Christmas. How can we face it. What can possibly be new. Well Sam Holcroft manages to both deconstruct and elaborate this familiar theme with energy and humour in her clever new play at the NT’s Dorfman Theatre. 


    There are several  levels of story interwoven and plenty for us to keep track of. The family Rules are made explicit and posted on scoreboards on stage.  Each compliance or infringement is scored for the audience, but not the family, to see.  The style is mostly slapstick and the characters broadly drawn, though beautifully acted.  The food throwing scene is pure farce. almost dangerous, and very funny.


    But the curtain of silliness opens at times to show a thoughtful analysis of family problems and how we manage to maintain or disrupt the patterns that hold us.   


    This isn’t a perfect play but it comments on a complex and sensitive area with a light touch and a sympathetic eye.  Recommended.  Until 8 July.

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