Look in a mirror darlin: Farragut North

Ryan Glosling who?  Please, we have Max Irons on stage.

We just saw him as the charming King Edward IV in the Starz and BBC series The White Queen but now Max Irons has turned his attention to an equal enchanting political PR in Beau Willimon’s play Farragut North at the Southwark Playhouse in London.

Farragut North is a pungent and astute political thriller that really works on stage.

Named after a Washington DC metro station, this 2008 play was brought to the big screen two years ago as the George Clooney directed The Ides of March.

Irons played  Stephen Bellamy, the character that Ryan Gosling brought on the screen.

Set over two days it is the story behind the scenes of a team working for a candidate seeking selection as the presidential candidate for the Democratic Party.

Inside we have drama and romance. We have to deal with subjects like ambition and loyalty.

Stephen is ambitious but despite the fact that he is only 25 years old, he is the best in his work.

He is the press secretary on the campaign trail but  when a rival candidate tries to poach him he screws up and he loses his mind…and his job.

He doesn’t care if he has lost his girlfriend for the campaign. Only one thing matters to him: he can’t lose his work.

Bellamy is willing to do anything to get back on track, even to sell to the press the most dangerous secret revealed to him by the only person who has really supported and protected him against everything and everyone.

Stephen oozes (literally) the necessary charm to make his success and confidence believable.

But it is  when things start to go wrong that we see his dark side…a great and almost unknown Irons’ dark side.

Willimon’s script is sharp and this is a play of high drama and tension.

The cast was a bundle of nerves (at the opening night) but that only adds more sense to the play atmosphere.

I was lucky enough to attend the show three times and appreciate the tremendous growth of the cast.

The opening night, Irons’ hands were shaking beyond measure (and I have to admit, watching him like that mine too) . Everything became  really difficult:  to take the phone out of his  jacket  pocket to button his shirt.

Performance after performance his confidence has grown but every time it was like he suddenly remembered to breathe at the curtain call (and me with him).

Rachel Tucker was tremendous… any New York Times shark would pale in front of her manipulative Ida.

Josh O ‘Connor (I’m thrilled to see him at the Donmar in Versailles from February 20) was irreverent and wonderfully comic. And Aysha Kala, the enigmatic Molly, brought a little sweetness on stage.

Shaun Williamson and Andrew Whipp were the master touch to make a further leap in quality to the performance.

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