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'It's England really, isn't it? A climate without cloud and rain isn't honest.'
In the ruins of a garden in rural England, in a house which was once a home, one woman searches for seeds of hope. Albion is a new play by Mike Bartlett, premiering at the Almeida Theatre, London, in October 2017 in a production directed by Rupert Goold.
A tragic comedy which is bright with insights and one-liners... Albion is breathtaking in its ambition and at its best achieves a neat balance between believable family drama and a more metaphoric state-of-the-nation resonance. It's enjoyable, humane and highly symbolic. --Arts Desk
Impressive and ambitious... Mike Bartlett uses a garden, this most English of metaphors, to tackle an array of our nation's contemporary themes and anxieties. --Radio Times
In Mike Bartlett's new state-of-the-nation play, the destiny of a garden in rural Oxfordshire prompts reflections on identity, social class and the dangers of nostalgia... Albion pays homage to Chekhov, matching his sense of domesticity's mixture of stultifying banality and desperate strangeness - while also calling to mind the wistful cleverness of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia... shot through with shrewdly observed humour, and there are moments of vivid poignancy. --Evening Standard
Fascinating, complex... what makes the play so enormously intriguing is that, as in his King Charles III, Bartlett shows us as a deeply divided people torn between the urge to preserve the past and to radically reform it. --Guardian
An intensely felt, delicately observed drama spanning a century of social change, that coaxes into blood-red bloom affecting ideas about home, identity, and love... a hybrid of earthy sensuality, sentimental nostalgia and damaging emotional frigidity that is peculiarly English. It's a domestic drama painfully ripped up by its roots, a depiction of modern England's dreaming, full of hopeless longing, fear and despair... while the setting appears genteel, the drama goes for the gut. It's gloriously rich, achingly sad, and quite beautiful. --The Stage
At its heart Albion is a play about how England isn't one idea, but many, and how accomodating them all may be an impossible task. Here we see these ideas gently simmer and collide... But, this is the subtle bit, as Bartlett smartly distills troubled England down to an elegiac microcosm, it gets under your skin without whacking you over the head, and functions as a human drama, first and foremost... it is powerfully bittersweet stuff, in its sighing way the first major Brexit play. --Time Out
Albion is a work of deeply absorbing emotional richness and symphonic density, in the tradition of plays such as The Cherry Orchard that focus on a family in a country house during pivotal times...a tragicomedy that explores why some folk, such as the protagonist, are passionately intent on turning the clock back to some imagined golden era. --Independent
The play that Britain needs right now... a drama that, in rooting around issues of belonging, identity and place, and above all our attachment to the past, is steeped in the churned-up, acrimonious soil of post-referendum life. That might make it sound like the height of unsubtlety, but the genius of the piece is that it contemplates the political by cleaving firmly to the personal. --Telegraph