A family group gathers at the magnificent house of patriarch and expert in mind games Helge (Stephen Moore) for a black-tie dinner to celebrate his 60th birthday. He is a successful restaurateur/hotelier with a beautiful wife played by Jane Asher. Seemingly the only dark clouds on his horizon are his unpleasantly violent, racist son Michael, played with real vigour by Rory Kinnear; and the sadly mysterious recent death of his daughter Linda.
The family is so close-knit that the business colleagues and domestic staff seem like members of a slightly extended version of it. Initially, this adds to the jollity of the occasion.
Suddenly, as everybody sits down to dinner and the laudatory speeches commence, a distraught, heartbroken son, Christian, in this case played by Gosling, stands up to speak. By the time he has completed his accusations of incest and rape against his father, nothing can ever be the same again.
Previewed 15 September 2004, opened 23 September 2004, closed 16 April 2005 at the Lyric Theatre in London.
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