Saturday, 15 April 2017

The Mentor

Friday was a bank holiday, and on impulse, I called the theatre to see whether they had any availability for The Mentor, a play by German novelist and playwright, Daniel Kehlmann. This is, I think, the first English production. It's directed by Laurence Boswell, who also directed Intimate Apparel and Trouble in Mind

The production stars Oscar winner  F. Murray Abraham, as Benjamin Rubin, an ageing playwright persuaded, by a cultural institute,  to spend a week as mentor to a young, up and coming writer, Martin Wegner (Daniel Weyman).

Daniel Weyman, Jonathan Cullen, Naomi Frederick and F Murray Abraham.
Photograph: Simon Annand
They are joined by Martin's wife, Gina (Naomi Frederick) and Erwin Rudicek (Jonathan Cullen), the Institutes's representative, an unsuccessful painter.

We first meet Rubin as he arrives at the villa, simultaneously complaining to Rudicek about the driver sent to meet him and the furnishings in his room, and snubbing him. 

I don't want to spoil the plot, but it it very funny, and mercilessly skews the egos of both writers, in different ways, in between discussing questions around the subjectivity of art appreciation, and success.

I suspect that Murray Abraham, in particular, was having  lot of fun with his role.

It's not a lengthy play - just under an hour and a half, and perhaps some of the themes, such as Gina's back story, but it is well worth seeing, and great to see such a strong cast, and the intimacy of the Ustinov studio works very well for this play.

The Mentor is at the Ustinov until 6th May. If you are in or near Bath, and get the chance, go!

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