Rory Kinnear makes brilliant writing debut with 'The Herd'
Skyfall actor Kinnear's writing debut - about a family with a disabled son - is insightful and funny
What you need to know
Actor Rory Kinnear, known for his classical stage performances and recent roles in Skyfall and the TV series Southcliffe, has turned his hand to writing.
For his first play, The Herd, at the Bush Theatre, London, he has drawn on his own family history for this story of a family dealing with a severely disabled child.
In The Herd a family wait for their disabled son to be brought home from a care home for his 21st birthday, but when unexpected guests arrive, family tensions threaten to boil over. Howard Davies directs a cast including Amanda Root, Adrian Bower and Anna Calder-Marshall. Until 26 October.
What the critics like
"Rory Kinnear has dazzled on stage and screen as an actor, but his debut play is perhaps his best effort yet," says Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph. This play of emotions asks profound questions while deploying a deft comic touch – it warrants a box-office stampede.
Attentive and thoughtful as an actor, Kinnear brings that same "insightful, melancholy humanity" to his first play, says Libby Purves in The Times. There is a compassionate seriousness in the play's message and an astringent streak of humour.
Kinnear creates meaty roles and "the dialogue tingles with well-observed idiosyncrasies", says Henry Hitchings in the Evening Standard. This is a vivid and unsentimental portrait of domestic life, flecked with wry humour.
What they don't like
"The piece sometimes feels a bit awkward, as though it has set out on a conscious mission to instruct," says Paul Taylor in The Independent. Nevertheless, its observations on the impact of extreme disability on carers and family relationships are keenly felt. ·