The Inheritance has opened at the Young Vic in London to rave reviews from critics.
The play, supported by Bruno Wang productions, documents the experiences of a generation of New York gay men who came of age in the years after Aids ravaged their community.
It is a “crystalline production,” writes Michael Billington in the Guardian, “which pierces your emotional defences, raises any number of political issues and enfolds you in its narrative.”
For theartsdesk.com, David Benedict declares: “Beautifully cast, economically designed and directed with strikingly elegant simplicity by Stephen Daldry, it has plenty to recommended it.”
The play – in two three-hour parts that can be watched alone or in sequence – is by American writer Matthew Lopez (The Legend of Georgia McBride) and based on EM Forster’s novel Howards End.
The plot tells the story of a group of young literature students and their education in the real history of the gay community. Relationships flourish and flounder, sex and politics are fought over, and at the centre is a house that one of the young men may – or may not – inherit.
The cast is headed by Vanessa Redgrave, who appears in the second half of the play, and Tony award-winner John Benjamin Hickey, with tremendous support from Kyle Solle – who won Milton Shulman Award for Outstanding Newcomer at the 2011 Evening Standard Theatre Awards – Andrew Burnap (The Legend of Georgia McBride) and Hubert Burton (Their Finest), among others.
The Guardian praises all the cast, but in particular Paul Hilton (The Cherry Orchard), who as Morgan Forster and Walter “exudes a quiet humanity that suggests respect for the dead needs to be balanced by a love of the living”.
Natasha Tripney, writing in The Stage, agrees, saying: “The cast are superb and the performances throughout are exquisitely pitched. It’s an incredible feat.”