With acclaimed theatre and film director Lindsay Anderson adapting a work by David Storey for the second time - Storey's quasi-autobiographical novel This Sporting Life was the first - and powerhouse performances from two of the British theatre's greatest talents, in the shape of Ralph Richardson and John Gielgud, Home clearly has a lot going for it.

Set in the grounds of a mental institution, the dialogue-driven piece explores one uneventful day in the lives of five residents, letting the flow of half-remembered reminiscences and non-sequiturs present a poignant sense of life having passed by:

"When I was in school, I had an ambition to be a priest, you know. "

"Really. "

"I thought about it a great deal."

"Ah yes, a great decision. Catholic or Anglican?"

"Well I could never quite make up my mind."

"Both got a great deal to offer. "

"A great deal, my word. "

"Advantages in one way, then in another... One of my ambitions. I should have liked to be a dancer. "

"Ballet or tap? "

Yet, despite the performances, writing and direction, one must hesitate slightly in recommending Home as cinema. Though Anderson breaks up the staging slightly, bringing the camera into the action, the piece nevertheless comes across first and foremost as being a record of a theatrical performance - albeit one seen from a shifting vantage point and not from a fixed position in front of the proscenium arch - rather than a filmic work in and of itself.

As theatre, however, Home is hard to fault.

Reviewed on: 16 Feb 2004
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An uneventful day in the lives of inmates at a mental hospital

Director: Lindsay Anderson

Writer: David Storey

Starring: Ralph Richardson, John Gielgud, Dandy Nichols, Mona Washbourne, Warren Clarke

Year: 1971

Runtime: 86 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: UK


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