Ruth Leon Pocket Review – Brokeback Mountain – @sohoplace theatre

Ruth Leon Pocket Review – Brokeback Mountain – @sohoplace theatre


norman lebrecht

May 28, 2023

Brokeback Mountain – @sohoplace theatre

Two men who are, or soon will be, husbands and fathers, meet on a Wyoming mountaintop in 1963. They are there to do a job  – herding sheep – seasonal work for the unskilled. Something happens to them. Call it chemistry, call it love, call it an irresistible force which can’t be denied, and two lives are irrevocably changed.

If you’ve seen the movie, based on the short story by Annie Proulx, then you know what happens.  The play, by Ashley Robinson,  makes no attempt to expand this simple but earthshattering incident into a larger context but has written a compelling drama from this accidental meeting of two ordinary men.

This is doubtless the pitch-perfect contribution of the two American actors playing Jack (the chatty one) and Ennis (the inarticulate one), Mike Faist and Lucas Hedges, who not only inhabit their characters but make us care about them. Robinson’s spare script gives them space to experience both the joy of their mutual self-discovery and the bemusement when they understand that their situation is impossible. The original country and blue grass songs by  Dan Gillespie Sells, performed by live band just off stage, add context to a sketchy physical production.  This is the best evening in the theatre that I’ve had for many a month and restores my faith in the ability of art to transcend the everyday.

By the way, the new West End theatre, the @sohoplace, is excellent, despite its funny name and well worth a visit.

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  • william osborne says:

    For those who might be confused, this is not the opera of the same name by Charles Wuorinen. Or?

  • Paul Terry says:

    No, just a play.