Best of Enemies

Rating: ★★★★
Venue: Noel Coward Theatre
Cast: Zachary Quinto, David Harewood, Deborah Alli, Sam Otto, Kevin McMonagle, Syrus Lowe, Tom Godwin, John Hodgkinson, Clare Foster and Emilio Doorgasingh 

1968 – A year of protest that divided America. As two men fight to become the next President, all eyes are on the battle between two others: the cunningly conservative William F Buckley Jr., and the iconoclastic liberal Gore Vidal. Beliefs are challenged and slurs slung as these political idols feud nightly in a new television format, debating the moral landscape of a shattered nation. Little do they know they’re about to open up a new frontier in American politics, and transform television news forever…

While Best of Enemies is just about to close on the West End, I still wanted to share my thoughts on a show that has left me reeling for weeks after I witnessed it. For a show that is set decades ago, it is still scarily relevant to today's society, which is terrifying, to say the least.

The majority of the show portrays nemeses Buckley and Vidal as they debate politics live on TV. Of course, they have strongly opposing views and it often becomes heated between the pair. Outside of the studio, riots and protests are showed throughout, which can be quite difficult to watch at times. 

Harewood and Quinto are nothing short of exceptional, and their acting was the predominant reason that I enjoyed the show. Quinto, in particular, is fantastic. He is full of sass and wit, but his character has so many layers that are unearthed throughout the show, as he realises the corrupt way in which the world is going.

With most of the production set in television and radio stations, the staging had to be spectacular, and it certainly was. In fact, I'd say it was my favourite part of the production. Watching the show felt as though you were an audience member of the political debates you were watching as they were broadcast live on air to millions. This atmosphere helped to make the arguments more shocking and helped the tension to build around you. 

For me, this play was very much one that invoked many emotions within me and left me with much to think about. Although there's some comedy throughout the play, as a whole, it's quite a heavy show and may be triggering for some to watch. Particularly for those triggered by themes of racism and homophobia

As a whole, I enjoyed the show, but there did feel as though there was something missing for me to elevate the production to a five star piece. 

You can find out more about Best of Enemies at the Noel Coward Theatre, here.

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