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DRAWING THE LINE at the Hamsptead Theatre

January 7, 2014

Howard Brenton as writer and Howard Davies as director are a powerful combination and they illuminate our understanding of history with their version of the events leading to the independence of India and creation of Pakistan in DRAWING THE LINE at the Hampstead Theatre. They have created a distillation of the competing interests of the powerful into the mind of one man Cyril Radcliffe brilliantly played by Tom Beard who is tasked with “drawing the line” which effectively ends the British Empire in August 1947. We get to witness and understand history as it potentially happened. Only great theatre can give this experience.

Paul Bazely as Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Silas Carson as Jawaharlal Nehru are well cast. Lucy Black as Lady Mountbatten and Andew Havill as Lord Mountbatten make the perfect couple. However it is in the predjudices and the hearts and minds of Cyril Radcliffe’s assistants Rao V. D. Aye and Christopher Beaumont played excellently by Nikesh Patel and Brendan Patricks that the real distillation takes place. Tanveer Ghani was disappointing in the least well written part of Gandhi which for me broke the chain of the otherwise incredible ensemble cast.

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