David Hare’s newest play charts the rise and fall of this US Titan of city planning via the easy system of beginning in the beginning of his profession and reducing to the top. Within the Twenties, after bullying the absurdly rich Henry Vanderbilt (Man Paul) into permitting parks to be constructed on his doorstep for poor Manhattanites to entry clear air and seashores, Moses proceeds to create highways that can redirect visitors within the easiest potential method – ie a straight line.
His intractable progressiveness works when supported by persuasive NYC Governor Al Smith (Danny Webb) however his techniques and abrasive character in the end carry him down thirty years later when he tries to run a freeway straight via Washington Sq. Park and meets opposition that even he cannot counter.
Fiennes captures the tone of a person who was an conceited idealist, blinded by his personal unassailable perception that he’s proper and everybody else is flawed.
Stuffed with contradictions, he constructed roads for automobiles however dismissed the thought of trains, subways and public transport of any sort.
His loyal assistants Finnuala Connell (Siobhan Cullen) and Ariel Porter (Samuel Barnett) try to motive with him to little avail, but proceed to admire him even when the visionary Moses has turned tyrant.
It’s a wordy play and director Nicholas Hytner does effectively to maintain the momentum brisk; the full of life exchanges between Fiennes and Webb particularly are fiercely compelling even when Hare’s tendency to lecture and deal with us with an pointless exposition threatens to stall the engine.
City planning is probably not the sexiest topic for a play however the characters and the performances preserve Hare’s articulate building buoyant.
Bridge Theatre till June 19 (Stay broadcast by NT Stay 26 Might)