Young Vic Theatre, London
Written by Zinnie Harris
Directed by Jennifer Tang
If ever Arts Council England require reasons to justify their axing of funds for London projects, they need look no further than the Young Vic’s current revival of Zinnie Harris’ 1999 play, Further Than The Furthest Thing.
As an exploration of exploitation, the story is a tedious study in how a remote island community is destroyed by the evil wider world. Drawn from the 1960s history of Tristan da Cunha, this production could have been so much more. Indeed, the supporting essays in the programme make for an excellent read.
It turns out that the essays are better than the production itself, for what Harris and director Jennifer Tang offer is overblown and lengthy with disappointingly two-dimensional characters. The usually brilliant designer Soutra Gilmour offers up a set that inexplicably (and quite possibly expensively) spins on the Young Vic’s revolve at a pace that’s as lethargic as the narrative. If Harris’ script had been filleted as ruthlessly as the island’s harvested crawfish then it might, just might, have had the potential to be an hour-long radio play. That around a third of the audience vanished at the interval is one of life’s easier to solve mysteries.
Jenna Russell, as always, delivers a top-notch performance. It is only a shame that the material she has to work with is so trite and dire. Further Than The Furthest Thing ain’t far enough for this dismal disappointment.
Runs until 29th April
Photo credit: Marc Brenner