Theatre / david hare

Preview: The Absence of War, Bristol Old Vic

By steve wright, Thursday Feb 26, 2015

Touring the UK in the run-up to the General Election, David Hare’s witty, stinging political drama is a prophetic, incisive study of an epic personal struggle – set against the high-pressured hysteria of the 1992 election.

This revival is directed by Jeremy Herrin, artistic director of the renowned Headlong Theatre, who’s also been busy directing Hilary Mantel’s Tudor epics Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies for the Royal Shakespeare Company, scooping an Evening Standard Best Director Award in the process.

It’s now or never for George Jones. The heavy-smoking, Shakespeare-loving Labour leader needs to get out of opposition and into Number Ten.

Plagued by a hostile media, beset by divisions in his party and haunted by his own demons, George has three weeks to convince the Great British Public that he’s their man.

But how much compromise is he prepared to make? How can you truly appeal to the man in the street from the Palace of Westminster? And which tie should he wear for Prime Minister’s Questions?

One of England’s foremost playwrights and screenwriters – and especially strong on political ground – Hare’s back catalogue includes Plenty, Skylight, The Permanent Way and Stuff Happens, as well as his Academy Award-nominated screenplays for The Hours and The Reader.

The Absence of War is at Bristol Old Vic Studio from Tuesday, 10 March to Saturday, March 14. For more info and to book tickets, visit

Read our in-depth interview with director Jeremy Herrin here

Pictures: Mark Douet

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