Review: Common

DC Moore's new play didn't impress John Nathan


DC Moore’s rambling new play takes a pivotal moment in this nation’s history. It is the 18th century, when the common people, and common land which they had a right to farm, were allocated by act of parliament to landowners, all the better to turn country folk into factory fodder in the cities.

Set on a muddy field somewhere in central England, its heroine is the foul-mouthed Mary, played by Anne-Marie Duff who works hard to deliver Moore’s nation-defining narrative with a light touch. But Jeremy Herrin’s production is stymied by a plot that is as thick and cloggy as the mud farmed here by the peasants. It’s a tale that draws on English paganism, but uses it like costume jewellery with peasants donning homemade headdresses whenever they want to commit communal murder.

Granted, the battles fought here defined much of this country and its class structure which is presumably why the National thought it relevant. But Moore has no interesting story to tell. Direct address is used a lot, which is sometimes a sign of fears that a script cannot hold an audience’s attention. Meanwhile, there’s an overbearing sense that the play is convinced of its own importance. It’s wrong.


For those who didn’t catch the Finborough’s excellent revival of Arthur Miller’s rarely seen ‘Incident at Vichy’, there’s a chance to see it at The Kings Head, with a reduced ticket price for JC readers, discount code: JEWISHCHRONICLE

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