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Review: Daytona

Theatre Royal Haymarket, London SW1

    Sometimes returning to a play can change a mind. But even one of the West End's grandest theatres cannot change the impression that Oliver Cotton's work, first seen at the Park Theatre last year, is an all-too whimsical attempt to grapple with heavyweight themes such as Jewish identity and the morality of exacting revenge in cold blood.

    Set in Brooklyn 1986, the cosy lives of Jewish couple Elli (Maureen Lipman) and Joe (Harry Shearer) are rudely interrupted by the arrival of Joe's brother Billy (played by Cotton, who is best known as an actor). Billy hasn't seen them for 30 years. He comes with news that recalls their experience of a Nazi concentration camp.

    Cotton's plot plateaus without climax. The only real class on view is Lipman and the dialogue is only funny when coming out of her mouth. I haven't changed my mind about that, either.

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