Review by Harry Lederman: Frost/Nixon, Lamb Theatre

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THE WATERGATE Scandal is now part of modern history and resulted in the resignation of Richard Nixon as President of the United States of America in August 1974.

During the following three years Nixon kept a very low profile but in 1977 the popular and well-known broadcaster, David Frost, made a bid to do a series of four two-and-a half hour interviews with Nixon. Swifty Lazar, Nixon’s agent, negotiated a very hard deal with Frost, who ended up putting nearly $2m into the project which he hoped would be recouped from potential sponsors and syndication. Over the first three recording sessions Frost really struggled to make any impact, with Nixon giving long monologues which prevented Frost from challenging him. Frost and his team realised after the third interview that they were heading for a professional and financial disaster unless something drastic could be done in the final interview.

It was these 1977 events which writer Peter Morgan dramatised in his play, Frost/Nixon. So, how did the Bootcamp Theatre cope with this challenging play in the confines of the Lamb Theatre? The answer is, very well indeed. Steve Scott, as Nixon, gave his usual impeccable performance and it was clear that he had put a great deal of time in capturing the mannerisms and delivery of Nixon. Some of his hand movements spoke more than his words. Shaun Mulvey, was very supportive as Frost and gave a very creditable performance. The rest of the cast, Tim Bird, Mike Bostock, John Cooper, Danny Lawson, Holly Lindfield, Radley Mason, Felicity Price-Smith and Allen Young, all gave excellent support, Danny in particular making a big impact as James Reston who served as the narrator of the events as they developed. Director Sandra Cheesman worked miracles in the limited space afforded at the Lamb, both in the placing of her actors and the clever use of lighting (with the assistance of lighting director Chris Leach to seamlessly move her actors on and off the small stage. Costume designer Linda Bostock ensured that everyone was properly dressed for the period and Leah Mooney’s background sounds helped to evoke the different scenes, especially in the first act. All-in-all another triumph for the Bootcamp Theatre and the Lamb which is building up a well deserved following.