About Time You Saw: Sunset LimitedBy Gilly Hopper
Written in 2006 by Pulitzer Prize winner Conor McCarthy, Sunset Limited precedes McCarthy’s fabled The Road by just one year. Making its London debut at the newly revamped Boulevard Theatre this January, McCarthy’s weighted play presents a balance of vehemence and verbosity.
Running at 95 minutes with no interval, Black (Gary Beadle) and White (Jasper Britton) are in a parley of sorts. They are seated at Black’s kitchen table in his New York City apartment. Before this morning, they didn’t know one another.
Thrown together by chance or happenstance, the pair turn to existentialist questioning following an event on the Subway earlier that day. Black is a preacher, White, a faith-shunning professor. Their value systems and belief in things are blindingly opposed.
Originally performed at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company of Chicago, 14 years on the work succeeds in maintaining its wit. However, it’s grasp has loosened, despite director Terry Johnson’s efforts to elevate McCarthy’s narrative.
In a nutshell, the play is a polarising ping-pong game involving one effusive, energetic player and one depleted participant. Black’s unyielding credence is portrayed with great fervour by Beadle, who remains light and affable. Countered with White’s dejecting musings, the ceaselessness of their conversing is a testament of McCarthy’s ability to counter argue a point to the (literal) death.
Sunset Limited runs at The Boulevard Theatre through 29 February.