Review: The Norman Conquests

norman conquestsIf the success of a Broadway show were based on the quality of the production alone, then the Old Vic production of Alan Ayckbourn’s “The Norman Conquests” should be a hit. In three plays that cover the same calamitous weekend in three different rooms of a country house, we watch as frantic, loudmouth seducer (and assistant librarian) Norman woos his sister-in-law Annie, spars with his brother-in-law’s wife Sarah and reconnects with his estranged wife Ruth – from Saturday evening through Monday morning.

British director Matthew Warchus (“Boeing-Boeing,” “God of Carnage”) is rapidly becoming the go-to boy for Broadway comedy, and the “Norman” trilogy is staged with the same airtight timing and flair for psychology that Warchus brought to those other productions.

So what’s the best order to see them in? I’d suggest “Living Together” first (set in the living room) as it has the most consistently entertaining first act, and thus is probably the best introduction to this set of characters; second, “Table Manners” (dining room), probably the most serious of the three; and lastly “Round and Round the Garden” which has the most satisfying and conclusive ending. But that’s just me. See all three and tell me what you think.


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