The Country Girl
Though probably best known for his TV roles as various representatives of the law, Martin Shaw also has a lengthy stage career behind him. He first appeared in American Clifford Odets’ 1950 backstage drama, nearly three decades ago, as the ambitious up-and-coming director who risks his Broadway-bound production by giving alcoholic actor Elgin one final chance to show his mettle.
Shaw now plays the washed-up old thesp, his once glorious reputation in ruins and his marriage (to Jenny Seagrove’s controlled, emotionally drained Georgie) driven to breaking point by a web of deceit and dependency.
Exploding with rage, then wheedlingly insecure, protesting he’s dry (his lines still unlearnt) but swigging treacherous cough mixture, he gives a powerful portrayal of a desperate man no longer capable of separating truth from lies.
Apollo Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 7EZ
Tube: Piccadilly Circus
Until 26 February