The Humans – Hampstead Theatre – review


The Humans written by Stephen Karam and directed by Joe Mantello which I saw at Hampstead Theatre I love a family drama and this one won four Tony Awards when it was on Broadway and it’s now been imported with the original production and cast As a portrayal of a middle class family it’s spot on. Two parents meet for thanksgiving at their daughter’s new apartment in New York. Also in attendance are the daughter’s partner, sister and grandmother. The ensemble acting is fantastic. The ensemble acting is fantastic. They’re absolutely believable as a bickering but loving family. But this play is about the fears that engulf But this play is about the fears that engulf so many of today’s middle class families. Fear of failure, unemployment, poverty, loss of love, illness, dementia, death. You can see the weight of these fears physically on all the actors’ shoulders. They’re most manifest in the father magnificently portrayed by Reed Birney. And they lead to a big revelation at the end. The set designed by David Zinn is a realistic, naturalistic two floor gloomy apartment in New York The set designed by David Zinn is a realistic, naturalistic two floor gloomy apartment in New York which the couple have only just moved into and the furniture’s yet to arrive so, although it’s their home, it has a temporary unhomely feel so, although it’s their home, it has a temporary unhomely feel like they could be gone tomorrow. And it’s spooky. There are frightening noises from above and lights going out suggesting darkness could descend at any moment. all of which seems to say that while the causes of their fears may have names all of which seems to say that while the causes of their fears may have names… recession, recession, globalisation, technical revolution, ageing and so on, these are forces as mysterious and uncontrollable as the gods and ghosts that our ancestors believed in. I found the play petered out a little at the end but I give four stars.

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