‘If you can’t have a laugh and a drink on a Friday night, when can you?’ goes the strap-line on a new production of Mike Leigh’s Ecstasy at the Hampstead Theatre. Which may have been what attracted us to it in the first place. That or the fact that it’s classic Mike Leigh, from back in the day when he was premiering plays like Abigail’s Party at what’s known in theatre circles as ‘The Hampstead’.
Or it might be that this is the first time the venerable teddy bear of a director has actually returned to direct one of his older plays. Then again it could be that the Hampstead does now have quite a nice bar.
Whatever the reason, we should warn you that it’s set in a bedsit in Kilburn in 1979 as Margaret Thatcher sweeps to power and nothing will ever be the same again. We should also warn you that The Hampstead is not so much in Hampstead proper as it is in Swiss Cottage, which slightly takes the shine off.
Buy your tickets for Ecstasy here.