This epic two-part drama arrives in the West End after a successful run at the New Vic in the summer. It is nothing short of a triumph and worth every accolade that is being heaped upon it.
A rare opportunity to see an epic story told over several hours which leaves you laughing, crying, celebrating, exhausted and uplifted, usually all at the same time.
The Inheritance is a landmark production which will go down in theatrical history and you really don’t want to be that person who missed it.
Writer Matthew Lopez takes his inspiration from ‘Howards End’ by E.M Forster and remains mostly faithful to the novel, except for setting it in modern day New York with a cast of gay men.
Forster himself makes an appearance and acts as a director, helping the characters come forward and tell their own story. The action pivots around Eric Glass and his boyfriend Toby Darling and all their friends who come and go and punctuate their life together.
As the years roll by we observe this electric group of mainly white, educated, cultured gay men experience the highs and lows, the joy and pain of simply living. It’s truthful, emotionally honest and exquisite storytelling.
Comparisons to Angels In America are obvious however this production explores the experience of gay men post the 1980’s AIDS epidemic.
It’s about what we as a community have inherited and how we use this to shape and define our future. It pays respect to the horrors of the past while always looking forward and most importantly it gives hope.
It’s a play for now and it’s a play for us, the importance of which can’t be overstated.
The cast are absolutely impeccable without a weak link. Kyle Soller as Eric is the emotional beating heart of the play. His massive personal journey of self discovery is faultless and the range and power of his emotion is deeply affecting.
Andrew Burnap as his narcissistic boyfriend Toby is riveting. He radiates energy as he burns bright, the kind of human you want to be near but at the risk of being horribly burnt. It’s an incredibly complex performance of enormous skill and talent.
Paul Hilton is wonderful as both Forster and Walter. He delivers a devastating account of what life was like in the 80’s as fear, panic and confusion took hold of the gay community.
It’s a massive monologue that is delivered in style. We hang on his every word and you can hear a pin drop. Samuel H. Levine is hilarious as the budding actor who enters this world and whose career takes off.
He’ll then break your heart as Leo, the lost sex worker who simply wants to feel safe. He switches between the two effortlessly, sometimes many times in one speech and it’s incredible.
Watching this production is like going to church, it’s spiritual and often elevates you to another plane. The tears and blowing of noses in the audience is testament to the emotional power of this journey.
But like life it’s also messy and imperfect. However, just like a partner these little imperfections can be overlooked if the heart is big enough and this show is nothing but heart. It’s life affirming stuff that makes you want to go out and love, live like never before.
Buy tickets to the phenomenal show here.
Rating – 5*
Words by Matthew Hyde
The Inheritance plays at the Noel Coward Theatre until January 19th.