Review: God Of Carnage, Theatre Royal, Glasgow

There’s a hideous sculpture made of spears that hangs above the living room space of the bourgeois household owned by neurotic American writer Veronica (Elizabeth McGovern) and swaggering utensils salesperson Michael (Nigel Lindsay). It’s never alluded to- serving as an ominous symbol.

It’s here that an attempt at sorting out a dispute between their boy and another couple’s boy takes place. Samantha Spiro and Simon Paisley Day are said rivals, uptight Annette and pompous pharma company bod Alan respectively.

Elizabeth McGovern in God of Carnage

It soon emerges that one child has actually knocked the other’s teeth out in a playground fight, so civility and a compromise should be the order of the day between the quartet- they can settle it-they’re ‘adults’, after all…

We are in Yasmina Reza territory here, doyen of the middle class farce turned feral. The show is like a game of chess, the superb cast of four moving around Peter Mackintosh’s fantoosh space, deploying fresh tulips, cigars, books on Francis Bacon and- incongruously- a hamster (!) as weapons.

There’s acrimony; chauvinism, sexism, racism and homophobia… not to mention rum; vomit, tears and hysteria. Yet, for the all supposed savagery, and four fantastic comic performances, the barbs feel more like paper cuts: they merely sting, when they should eviscerate. Still, a wicked comedy with some fine satirical moments.


Elizabeth McGovern in God of Carnage 2

Elizabeth McGovern as Veronica. Photos by Nobby Clark

At Theatre Royal Glasgow until Saturday, 1st February. Touring.

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